New Delhi: A Delhi Court has directed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to consider the age of players on the basis of birth certificates or adopt a scientific method to determine the age in the absence of genuine documentary proof.
Accepting the plea of Yash Sehrawat and Aryan Sehrawat, who were denied permission to play an under-16 cricket tournament by the BCCI citing over-age, Justice V K Jain rejected the Tanner Whitehouse 3 (TW-3) method adopted by the cricket body to ascertain their age for the tournament.
The court directed BCCI to verify the genuineness and authenticity of the documents, including the school certificates, filed by the petitioners as proof of their respective date of birth, within four weeks of submission.
"... If on such verification, the respondents (BCCI and Delhi District Cricket Association) find that the documents are genuine documents, they would record the date of birth of the petitioners... In their data base and would accordingly consider them for playing in the tournaments for which they are found to be eligible."
BCCI had conducted their age determination test using TW-3 method at Fortis Hospital, New Delhi. According to which both of them were found to be above 16 years of age and not eligible for the tournament.
Expressing displeasure over the manner in which BCCI had rejected the documentary evidence of the petitioners, the court referred to various judgements and said in the absence of such documents to prove the age, any other scientific method can be adopted.
The court observed that "It would be unrealistic to say that all the documents produced in support of age of a player seeking to play a tournament meant for a particular age group would be authentic documents.
"There is a reasonable possibility of some of the documents being forged or tampered with. However, such instances, cannot, in my view, be a good ground to outrightly reject all such documents, when the age determined by use of TW3 method is not in conformity with the age indicated in the documents."
The court further said, "There may be cases where the documents produced are absolutely genuine and the age recorded therein is absolutely correct. It would be highly unreasonable and unfair to the players if despite submitting such authentic and genuine documents, they are denied opportunity to play in a tournament meant for their age group, merely because in the medical opinion their age could be more than 16 years..."