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[India Vs New Zealand T20] Jharkhand HC Dismisses PIL Filed Against Organising Ranchi Match With Full Audience Capacity

Sparsh Upadhyay
19 Nov 2021 3:48 PM GMT
[India Vs New Zealand T20] Jharkhand HC Dismisses PIL Filed Against Organising Ranchi Match With Full Audience Capacity
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The Jharkhand High Court on Thursday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed challenging the decision of the Jharkhand State Cricket Association to conduct a T-20 cricket match between India & New Zealand today with full capacity.The match is currently being played at JSCA Stadium, Dhurwa, Ranchi.Essentially, the Bench of Chief Justice Dr. Ravi Ranjan and Justice...

The Jharkhand High Court on Thursday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed challenging the decision of the Jharkhand State Cricket Association to conduct a T-20 cricket match between India & New Zealand today with full capacity.

The match is currently being played at JSCA Stadium, Dhurwa, Ranchi.

Essentially, the Bench of Chief Justice Dr. Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad was of the view that since the match is scheduled to be held tomorrow (being held currently) and most of the tickets have been sold out, therefore, it would not be proper to allow the writ petition.

However, the Court directed the Chief Secretary of the State to issue appropriate direction to follow the COVID-19 protocol by issuing appropriate direction to the Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi.

In turn thereof, the Court further directed, the Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi, and S.S.P., Ranchi would ensure compliance of the said directions outside the stadium and also inside the stadium.

The matter in brief 

The PIL moved by one Dheeraj Kumar submitted before the Court that allowing T-20 Cricket Match between India and New Zealand at JSCA Stadium, Dhurwa, Ranchi is against the prevailing COVID19 guidelines issued by the State of Jharkhand.

It was further contended that vide October 30, 2021, the Government had taken a decision not to allow an outdoor congregation of more than 500 people, however, the State Government still went ahead and allowed the conduct of the T-20 International Cricket Match with the full strength of the stadium which is about 38,000.

Importantly, it was argued that the State Government had got no power to relax the COVID-19 guideline for the benefit of the commercial event at the risk of the public at large.

It was contended that the PIL be allowed by restricting the congregation not to exceed 500 persons as also to direct the Jharkhand State Cricket Association to follow the guideline issued by the State of Jharkhand.

Court's query and submissions put forth

When the Court asked the State Counsel, under which authority the congregation had been directed to be exceeded for more than 500 persons, it was told to the High Court that the competent authority had taken decision, in exceptional circumstances, in the exercise of the power conferred under Section 18(3) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and therefore, it was argued that the decision to allow the match with full capacity was taken under the authority of law.

Under Section 18(3) of DMA, 2005, Chairperson of the State Authority (who happens to be the CM of Jharkhand in the instant case), in the case of emergency, have the power to exercise all or any of the powers of the State Authority, however, the exercise of such powers shall be subject to ex post facto ratification of the State Authority.

It was further argued by the State, that since the cricket association would be taking all endeavors by following COVID-19 protocol as directed, therefore, the decision of the State authority which has been taken, in the interest of the public at large, may not be interfered with.

Court's observations

At the outset, the Court opined that whether conducting the International Cricket Match could be treated to be a case of emergency (to be allowed by exercise of the power under DM Act), can't be gone into in the instant case, as the said decision wasn't under challenge. 

Lastly, noting that since the exemption had been granted by the competent authority in the exercise of the power conferred under Section 18(3) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the match was scheduled for 19th November and most of the tickets have been sold, the Court dismissed the PIL.

Case title - Dheeraj Kumar v. The State of Jharkhand and others

Click here to download the order

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