The Bombay High Court on Tuesday agreed to consider a plea filed for cancellation of Indian Premier League 2021 keeping in mind the deaths & cases of coronavirus in India during the second COVID wave.
The plea also seeks to penalize the Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI) with Rs 1000 crores for the "gross mismanagement and negligence" in holding IPL in the middle of COVID pandemic and a direction to utliize this penalty and the profits from IPL to help people struggling to find medicines and medical oxygen for treatment.
A division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice GS Kulkarni agreed to hear the matter on Thursday.
During the hearing today, the petitioner Counsel had mentioned the PIL before the Court, citing certain news reports that state that all pending IPL matches will happen in Mumbai. Later during the day, reports came that the BCCI has decided to suspend IPL indefinitely after certain players got COVID infection.
The plea has been filed by Adv Vandana Shah against CEO and other members of the Board of Cricket Control in India, under jurisdiction of Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
The plea has also sought a direction for the formation of a regulating mechanism to supervise and see that its employees and contractually bound players do no wrongful or criminal act during work.
Further, defined rules to regulate BCCI and measures to ensure safety of public and of cricketers has been sought.
The petitioner has also urged the court to direct BCCI to disclose with complete transparency what COVID19 protocols are being followed and complied with. An conditional apology has also been sought to the people of the country especially the cricket fans for being 'insensitive and tone deaf' in these times.
The plea has sought the Court's directions to ban applications and games like MPL and Dream 11, as they are "gambling apps in disguise" and should definitely not be using cricketers as their brand ambassadors, as in a 'cricket worshiping country' it will encourage people to gamble. Therefore petitioner has sought a penalty of 50 crores, including double the amount of sponsorship paid by MPL and the money spent on sponsorship, to be paid for welfare of frontline workers.
The petitioner has prayed that directions be issued to send the cricketers from other countries brought in to participate in IPL, back to their countries immediately, and disclose all people who contracted COVID 19.
Further its been sought that BCCI should be directed to publish the entire expenses, earnings, income, profits before tax, to put together IPL 2021 and the money be deployed for common persons struggling to earn livelihood.
The petitioner, who is a legal professional has sought to question the accountability of BCCI towards public and people of India for the alleged wrongful act done by them, by continuing the IPL tournament, since in these times lives are more important.
The plea has stated that IPL has over hundreds of players, organisers and employs many people, including ground staff, contractual employees, etc., and therefore any incident happening in the course of work would attract 'vicarious liability' of the employer, organisation or the governing body.
According to the petitioner, the issue of not holding any accountability by the organisation for wrongful acts done by their employees in course of work is a matter of concern taking into consideration the safety and welfare of the general public.
"The organisation has to be held responsible for conducting a tournament which will almost as a certainty endanger people's lives. It is not a secret how places where a number of people gather become super spreaders." the plea states.