The suspense regarding the opening match of IPL in Mumbai came to an end on Thursday with the Bombay High Court giving the go-ahead to the League. The court refused to stay the scheduled opener between Mumbai Indians and Pune SuperGiants at the Wankhede Stadium on April 9th and said that the court trusted the organizers about their decision to hold the matches in the state.
A mini crisis had developed for the IPL just before the start of the tournament because of a PIL filed against the organizers of the tournament by the NGO ‘Loksatta Movement’. The petitioners contended that the state of Maharashtra was suffering from a severe drought and the scheduled matches of the IPL in the state would use up about 6 million liters of water for pitch curing purposes. The petitioner therefore moved to the court to obtain a stay on the scheduled matches in Maharashtra in the interest of the public.
The Bombay High Court did acknowledge the presence of a drought like condition in Maharashtra and had some tough words for the state administration during the preliminary hearings. This led to speculations that the court might order a stay on the matches scheduled in the state including the opener on April 9th. The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) however countered Loksatta’s claim and contended that the seven scheduled matches would use up only 4 million liters of water.
During the hearing, the Court was told by the Municipal Corporation that the water being used for pitch curing purposes was being purchased from suppliers other than the Municipality. The MCA also declared that the water being used for pitch curing purposes was not potable and would not have any effect on the potable water supply to the ordinary citizens. The Court was also informed about the huge amounts of money and preparation involved in the tournament.
Maharashtra is suffering from a severe drought this year and some regions like Marathawada have been severely affected. Prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC have been issued by authorities in certain districts of Maharashtra to preserve the remaining water spots. Thc court took cognizance of the severity of the drought condition in Maharashtra but finally decided to not stay the IPL matches in the state.
Though IPL has received a reprieve from the High Court it is still uncertain whether the seven matches scheduled in Maharashtra will take place considering the furor and outcry that has been generated due to the case. The opening match at Wankhede stadium will definitely take place as scheduled however the authorities might decide to shift the venue for future matches.