A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed before the Orissa High Court, praying for cancellation of the 2nd T-20 match between India and South Africa, scheduled to be held on 12th June 2022 at Barabati Stadium, Cuttack.
The petition is filed by a human rights activist named Sanjay Kumar Naik. He has impleaded 15 numbers of parties as respondents, including the State of Odisha, Odisha Cricket Association and BCCI.
The petitioner had earlier approached the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) with a similar prayer on the ground that there is no fire safety measure certificate as well as structural safety certificate issued to the concerned authority for organising an international match which is likely to host approximately 45,000 spectators. The Deputy Commissioner of Police had submitted a report before the OHRC, which the petitioner claims raised eyebrows about safety measures. As the OHRC has posted the matter to 17th June 2022 for next hearing, the petitioner approached the High Court for its urgent intervention.
The petitioner claimed that an organisation, which is not complying with mandatory requirement of law, should not be allowed to perform any function with the aid of government functionaries. It also mentioned that the government functionaries must also be conscious of their responsibilities to ensure compliance with mandatory requirements of law, particularly 'fire safety measures' under the Odisha Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Rules, 2017 (as amended in 2019).
The petition stated that most part of the structure of the stadium are seventy years old and there is no 'structural stability certificate' issued by competent authority. It further clarified that the petitioner is not strictly against holding the match, rather it seeks to cancel the same in case the safety measures are not duly complied with as provided under the laws.
It mentioned that Odisha has witnessed number of unforeseen accidents due to outbreak of fire in the recent past, including in SUM and Sadguru Hospitals. Though the Stadium is one of those structures organising congregation of large number of people on different occasions, the authorities have never ever taken any care for maintaining safety and procuring safety related certificates. Still, the opposite parties regularly organise state, national and international events under the influence of office bearers of Odisha Olympic Association and Odisha Cricket Association, it added. Further, it alleged that the officials are exhibiting 'leniency' and in the process, they are trying to ignore compliance with the aforesaid Rules, which are mandatory in nature.
Accordingly, the petitioner has prayed the Court to restrict and prohibit the opposite parties to hold the T-20 International Match until they ensure necessary fire safety arrangements and obtain certificates strictly in compliance with the Fire Safety Rule, 2017.
Case Title: Sanjay Kumar Naik v. State of Odisha & Ors.
Case No.: W.P.(C) (PIL) No. 14024 of 2022