Bombay HC Orders Against Holding Matches In Drought Hit Areas

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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday said the BCCI should see to it that it does not hold matches in places in Maharashtra where facilities like water are not available due to severe drought during summers.

A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak was hearing a bunch of petitions raising concern over villages in the state facing severe drought conditions every year and seeking the government to initiate measures to tackle the issue.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is also a party to the litigation as in April this year a public interest litigation was filed by NGO Loksatta Movement seeking IPL matches, which are usually held in March-April-May each year, to be shifted out of the state as over 60 lakh litres of water are used for ground management despite drought in the state.

In April this year, the high court had directed BCCI to shift all IPL matches to be held in Maharashtra post April 30 outside the state due to the severe drought. The BCCI on Friday told the court to excuse it from the litigations as their role is over, but the HC refused and said IPL tournament will be held next year also.

“You (BCCI) can assist us. IPL will be held next year also…Again the same issue will crop up. If certain places do not have facilities like water then do not hold matches there.

“As a parent body, BCCI should be taking care of all this before hand so that the franchises do not suffer in the end. BCCI cannot just lift its hands up,” Chief Justice Chellur said.

On April 13, another bench of the high court while directing shifting of IPL matches out of the state, had noted that several districts in Maharashtra were not even getting water for sanitation and other purposes and that the non-portable water being used by the stadiums to maintain pitches can be of use in such districts.

“In such cases one would have expected the BCCI and other respondents (Maharashtra Cricket Association and Bombay Cricket Association) to come forward on their own and shift the matches out of Maharashtra. However, unfortunately, nothing has been done. This court has now no other option than to direct BCCI to transfer matches out of Maharashtra,” the court had said then.