Supreme Court allows cricket sponsors to remit foreign exchange

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court today ruled in favour of the official sponsors of the ICC World Cup, principally LG India (LGI), and allowed them to remit foreign exchange for the tournament.

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice VN Khare, Justice YK Sabharwal and Justice Arijit Pasayat, however, stated that the remittances made by the sponsors to the mega event would be subject to the final orders passed by the apex Court, the Press Trust of India reports.

However, since this interim order was passed by the bench while postponing for eight weeks hearing on an appeal filed by LGI challenging a Delhi High Court order of 22 January on the matter, it means that the sponsors have practically no restrictions on this count during the tournament itself. 

The High Court had directed the Union government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) that no foreign exchange, either in the form of sponsorship money or as damages, be released to ICC if the apex body debarred India from playing in the championship or imposed any penalty or damages on players or Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

PTI reported that LG in its petition, while assailing the High Court order, had said that as the BCCI had "invoked an arbitration clause and the matter is pending before the Swiss Court of Arbitration", the High Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the PIL filed by NKP Salve, Kapil Dev and four others.

An interesting element was added to the proceedings when LGI's counsel alleged that the PIL filed before the High Court was a "collusive petition instigated by its competitor (Samsung Electronics) and aided by the BCCI, which by recourse to a proxy petition is seeking to wriggle out of its contractual obligations having agreed to certain clauses which compromise the interest of the Indian cricketers."

Terming the effect of the High Court order as "achieving something indirectly which was not possible directly", the electronic major said that the High Court completely lost sight of the fact that the matter was squarely covered under the contractual obligations in which it had no jurisdiction.

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