The apex court said Article 19 (1)(c) of the Constitution, which guarantees to the citizens of the country the right to form associations, unions or cooperative societies, is guaranteed in favour of 'citizens only' and was not open to juristic or other persons and entities who are non-citizens.

A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice FMI Kalifulla disagreed with the submissions made by BCCI's senior counsel KK Venugopal who was supported by other senior advocates, including Kapil Sibal, Shyam Divan, Arvind Datar, Maninder Singh and BH Marlapalle.

"The recommendations made by the Committee in the instant do not interfere with or alter the composition of the state associations. Individual citizens who came together to form the state associations have not been asked to discontinue their association nor do the recommendations impose upon their members an obligation to associate with others with whom they do not wish to associate," it said.

The bench further said, "Composition of the state cricket associations remain unaffected, and so does the right of those forming such associations under Article 19(1)(c)."

The court said there was 'no room for any doubt' that the right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) cannot be claimed by an association or union or a co-operative society. The apex court noted in its verdict that no citizen has come forward in the proceedings to complain of the violation of any fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution.

"Secondly and more importantly because the recommendations do not, in our opinion, affect the composition of the State Cricket Associations in any manner. Citizens who have come together to form the State Associations continue to associate as before with no change in their internal composition," the bench said.

"Suffice it to say that so long as the initial voluntary composition of the state cricket associations who are complaining of the breach of their right under Article 19(1)(c) remains unaffected, there is no violation of what is guaranteed by Article 19(1)(c)," the bench said.

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