MCA Chal­lenges HC Rul­ing to Shift IPL Matches Out­side Ma­ha­rash­tra

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Sa­man­waya.Rau­tray @times­group.com

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.

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