Bombay High Court allows inaugural IPL match to commence

Questions the timing of the petition filed against water being provided to cricket stadia for IPL matches in drought-hit Maharashtra

By DTE Staff
Published: Thursday 07 April 2016
Credit: Vikas Choudhary
Credit: Vikas Choudhary Credit: Vikas Choudhary

The Bombay High Court has refused to stay the inaugural match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 to be held at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on April 9 despite the ongoing water crisis in Maharashtra. But it rapped the state government and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the usage of water for pitch maintenance while the majority of the state reels under water scarcity.

“We don't propose to grant stay for the match to be held on April 9 as the petition was filed at a late stage and all arrangements had been made for it by the respondents (BCCI and state cricket associations),” the divisional bench of Justices V M Kanade and M S Karnik said after considering the Mumbai Cricket Association’s plea. It had questioned the timing of the last-minute petition against water being used to maintain pitches for the IPL 2016 in the drought-hit state, being filed just four days before the tournament began.

The bench, however, pulled up the state government for its role in providing water and permissions for an event of such scale at this time.

“Was there any application of mind on this issue that you are giving permission for an event like this when such a huge amount of water is required? For Holi, an appeal was made saying 'it should be a dry Holi'—how come this was not taken into account here? Is it not the duty of the state government to enquire when there is water shortage, how are the cricket boards getting abundant water for pitches?” the court asked.

According to media reports, in response to the acting attorney general’s claim in court that the state government provided “only” 22,000 litres of potable water to stadia every day, the court noted, “So much disparity. Here are people who can use as much water as they want and people in Thane get water once in 3 days.”

Citing its own apprehensions about the role of the state and the steps taken by the state government in reducing wastage, the bench directed the state government to file a detailed reply by April 12 after which, a decision on the fate of the remaining 18 matches scheduled in the state would be taken.

Recently, the court had suggested that the matches planned in Maharashtra be moved out of the state. The recommendation also received the support of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

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