IPL 2016: Mumbai High Court allows opening game, suspense on remaining 19

[caption id='attachment_272567' align='aligncenter' width='680'] IPL 2016 Logo[/caption]The Bombay High Court has permitted the inaugural Indian...

IPL 2016: Mumbai High Court allows opening game, suspense on remaining 19

[caption id="attachment_272567" align="aligncenter" width="680"]IPL 2016 Logo IPL 2016 Logo[/caption]

The Bombay High Court has permitted the inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants to be held at the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday as scheduled. A decision on the remaining 19 matches scheduled in Maharashtra has been kept pending while the matter has been posted for further hearing on April 12. The western state is slated to host 20 matches.  The high court ruling came on a PIL challenging the staging of IPL matches in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur on the grounds of acute water crisis in the state.

Earlier,  in a blow to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and its affiliates in Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court  suggested that the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) matches should be shifted out of the state, owing to the unprecedented water crisis.

"How can you waste water like this...are the people more important or your IPL matches? Only if the water supply to BCCI is cut, you will understand," said a stern division bench of Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice M.S. Karnik.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO named Loksatta Movement, which has questioned the need for holding IPL matches in Maharashtra as it would lead to a huge wastage of water when large parts of the state are reeling under severe water shortage.

"How can you be so careless? Who wastes water like this? Ideally, you should shift out the IPL matches to some other state where water is in abundance," the judges observed.

Pointing out that the condition in Maharashtra was known to the BCCI and other cricket associations, the court said ultimately it is the government's responsibility to check water wastage and impose restrictions on its use.

It asked acting advocate-general Rohit Deo to remain in the court and directed the state government to inform what measures it planned to take in the matter, as the cricketing authorities prepare to launch IPL jamboree with fanfare from April 9.

Earlier, the court sought the replies of various respondents, including the state government, various cricketing associations in the state and the Mumbai and Nagpur civic corporations on the issue.

The petitioner NGO has claimed that more than six million litres of water would be utilised to maintain the cricket pitches at the three stadia in Maharashtra where IPL matches are scheduled to be held.

The lawyer of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) said it would use over four million litres of water for the seven IPL matches to be held at the Wankhede Stadium and they purchased non-potable water for this purpose.

To this, the NGO's lawyer pointed out that many villages in Maharashtra don't have water for sanitation, cooking or cleaning and this non-potable water could be of great use to the villagers.

The NGO sought an interim order restraining all cricket associations in the state from using water to maintain their pitches, pending the hearing of the PIL which the court agreed to consider on Thursday.

Around 20 IPL matches are scheduled in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. All three cities are currently experiencing a water crisis with the summer just hotting up. (IANS)