Pandya-Rahul case in limbo after SC adjourns hearing

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Any imminent return of Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul to the Indian set-up has been ruled out with the Supreme Court on Thursday adjourning till next week the case pertaining to the Lodha Committee reforms. Several issues, including the fate of the cricketers and elections to the BCCI, are due to be resolved but the court said it would proceed with the case only after the appointment of an amicus curiae to replace Gopal Subramanium, who left that post recently.
The two-judge bench of Justices SA Bobde and AM Sapre opted to adjourn the hearing after Subramanium, the amicus curiae in the case for the past few years, decided to resign. The court has nominated PS Narsimha, senior advocate in the court, to replace Subramanium and said it would hear the matter if and when Narsimha accepted the role.
Meanwhile, Pandya and Rahul have pleaded guilty to the charge of indiscipline and misconduct imposed on them by the Committee of Administrators (CoA) over their comments recently on an Indian television chat show. Rahul Johri, the BCCI chief executive officer, conducted an initial hearing with the players over phone and submitted the players’ explanations to the CoA on Tuesday.
“The players have expressed deep regret and they have apologised for all they have done,” Vinod Rai, CoA chairman, told ESPNcricinfo. “They have said that they did it in their naiveté. And they didn’t realise [at the time] what they had did.”
Rai, speaking before the court hearing, said that the next step would be determined by directions from the Supreme Court. The CoA has asked the court for directions on appointing an ombudsman, who is the BCCI’s final adjudicating authority under its constitution.
The BCCI legal team had advised the CoA that the process of adjudicating on the players would involve an initial inquiry to be done by Johri, which would then be sent to an ombudsman whose ruling woud be final and binding. However, the BCCI never appointed a replacement once Justice AP Shah finished his term as the first ombudsman of the board in late 2016.