A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed before the Bombay High Court on Tuesday seeking damages from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to use towards procuring medical requirements for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PIL sought cancellation or postponement of matches played during the Indian Premier League (IPL). A few hours after the petition was filed, the Board suspended the ongoing season of the tournament after a number of cases were reported among players and staff.
“The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and wellbeing of all the stakeholders in mind,” the BCCI said in a statement.
The petition mentions, “On April 9, 2021 the first IPL match was played at Chennai on April 10, second IPL match played at Mumbai. By this time there were fears backed by evidence of a second wave of COVID-19. This is definitely deadlier than the previous strain. On April 12 despite all evidence of a lockdown, partial and otherwise IPL continues to be played in Mumbai. Even in Delhi IPL is played. Both are among the worst impacted cities.”
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On April 14, Maharashtra chief minister and other ministers announced stricter lockdown keeping in mind rising corona virus cases and deaths, oxygen shortage, section 144 of code of criminal procedure imposed which essentially prohibits gathering of four or more people in an area, schools and colleges continue to remain shut/operate online. Only essential services are allowed, no complete list of essential services available. IPL is not mentioned in the list of essential services.”
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The PIL states, “From April 14 till April 27 India is almost in a state of internal emergency and some cricketers have also tested positive for coronavirus. Seemingly, Australia has asked their cricketers to be sent home. Some has already returned. In India cases have reached an earth shattering record of 3.4 lakhs a day. Other countries have to rush to supply oxygen and other medical supplies to India.”
The plea adds, “Even the Indian Air Force is called in to help IPL continues. MS Dhoni’s parents are diagnosed with COVID 19. Players have started to drop out of IPL due to wanting to support their families during this period. Still there is no talk or discussion of postponement or cancellation despite India reaching a point of no return.”
The matter will be heard on May 6.