MCA Challenges HC Ruling to Shift IPL Matches Outside Maharashtra
New Delhi: The Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) on Friday moved the Supreme Court against a Bombay High Court ruling directing that the IPL matches be shifted out of drought-hit Maharashtra to save water.
A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Shivakirti Singh listed it for hearing on Monday.
“We have the deepest sympathies for Marathwada and Vidarbha,” senior advocate Kapil Sibal said while urging the court to hear the appeal soon, and argued that the high court was wrong to reject the association’s offer to supply water and contribute towards relief measures out of the revenues earned from the matches. The Bombay High Court on April13 had directed that Indian Premier League (IPL) matches to be held from April 30 onwards in Maharashtra be shifted outside the state because it would take a significant amount of water to maintain the grounds. The MCA owns the Gahunje Cricket Stadium near Pune, which was supposed to hold six IPL matches next month.
In its appeal filed through advocate Neela Gokhale, MCA argued, “... transferring IPL matches out of Maharashtra undoubtedly, symbolises sensitivity; however, accepting the offer of the petitioner and others to contribute towards the relief measures out of the revenues earned by them through the matches would be a partial practical resolution to the problem.” The MCA claimed that it had also promised to use only the sewage treated water made available to it by the Royal Western India Turf Club from its sewage treatment plant at Mahalaxmi, Mumbai, which otherwise, in any case, would have been released into the sea.
“...using the water would not entail the state government to commit any breach of its obligations under the relevant Water Resources and Regulations Act nor its water policy,” it said. The MCA appeal also alleged that the HC ruling was based only on data provided by an NGO without any reliable corroboration by any experts or information provided by it.
It said the Pune stadium has been grown on a synthetic medium comprising of coco peet, zeolite and sand. Made from coconut husks and primarily consisting of coir fibre pith or dust, coco pe- et in combination with zeolite can hold large quantities of water like a sponge and quickly reabsorbs water even when completely dry. Coco peet is porous and cannot be over watered easily, it said. The IPL matches in Pune were to be held between April 22 and May 27. For five weeks the total water required for the stadium would be 7,80,000 litres, it claimed.
It claimed that the high court had completely ignored these facts while labelling MCA as “insensitive” and “discrediting” the cricket body by raising doubts about it while passing an order on a public interest litigation that claimed that watering pitches was a waste of a valuable resource when large parts of the state were reeling under a drought.