A public interest litigation (PIL) petition was filed before the Bombay High Court on Tuesday seeking the cancellation or postponement of the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.
The plea, filed by Bandra resident Vandana Shah, seeks a directive to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to delay/cancel/postpone the IPL matches keeping in mind the deaths in India in the COVID-19 second wave. It also seeks damages from the BCCI of ₹1000 crore from the profits made during the IPL to be paid for medical treatment and oxygen supply for COVID-19 treatment.
The petition said, “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.”
On April 14, Maharashtra Chief Minister and other Ministers announced a stricter lockdown, keeping in mind the rising coronavirus cases and deaths and oxygen shortage, Section 144 of the code of criminal procedure that essentially prohibits gathering of four or more people in an area and closure of schools and colleges and allowing their operation online. Only essential services were allowed and no complete list of essential services were available. IPL is not mentioned in the list of essential services.
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 stated, “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.