The Bombay High Court has told The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to avoid holding Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in areas facing water scarcity in Maharashtra during the summer so that the franchises could be spared of last-minute shifting of matches like it had happened in April 2016.
"You (BCCI) can assist us. IPL will be held next year also, again the same issue will come 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 Manjula Chellur said.
A division bench of Chief Justice 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 asking the government to initiate measures to tackle the problem.
BCCI is also a party to the litigation as in April 2016 a public interest litigation was filed by NGO Loksatta Movement seeking IPL matches, usually held in March-April-May, to be shifted out of the state as over 60 lakh litres of water are used for ground management despite the state reeling under drought.
At that time, the high court directed BCCI to shift all IPL matches planned in Maharashtra post April 30 outside the state.
The BCCI in its response 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.
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-potable 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.