Observing that it cannot monitor all sports associations, the Supreme Court on Tuesday appointed its former judge Justice L Nageswara Rao to oversee the upcoming elections of the office bearers of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA).

A bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Manoj Misra, and Justice Aravind Kumar also directed the HCA to extend all requisite assistance to one-person panel.

"We are of the view that the impasse must come to an end and a fair election be held. This Court is of the view that Justice Nageswara Rao, a retired judge of this court, would be suitable to be appointed to head the single-member committee to sort out this mess," the bench said. It said that Justice Rao can take all assistance as needed, and added that the expenses will be borne by the association. In case Justice Rao needed some judicial directions, the matter can be listed before the bench for that limited purpose, it said, adding that the apex court cannot monitor all sports associations.

The court will hear the matter next on March 2, 2023 for other aspects related to the functioning of the association. The bench was hearing a case in which the association had appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice Deepak Verma as its ombudsman and ethics officer.

The matter came to the apex court after some state cricket clubs challenged a Telangana High Court order upholding Justice Verma's appointment. On Tuesday, the bench was dealing with applications in the matter seeking timely conduct of polls.

The apex court had earlier expressed strong displeasure over the functioning of faction-ridden HCA and the row on the issue of appointment of the ombudsman and said it will order an inquiry into the whole issue by a former apex court or high court judge. "Cricket has gone somewhere else and politics has taken precedence," the bench had said.

With PTI Inputs