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Ipl 2017
Bombay High Court kicks IPL out of Maharashtra
In a major setback to the cash-rich Indian Premier League, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday ordered all matches scheduled after 30 April to be shifted out of the drought-hit state of Maharashtra.

With the order, 13 matches of IPL 2016 will be affected, including the final which was to be played at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

A bench comprising of Justices VM Kanade and MS Karnik has given 15 days to BCCI, Mumbai Cricket Association, Maharashtra Cricket Association and the Vidarbha Cricket Association to "make arrangement to shift the matches."

The bench observed that at the most the cricket bodies including the BCCI would face financial losses, "however the harm caused to people at large if they are allowed to hold their matches in the state is irreparable."

The Bombay High Court order came in response to a PIL filed by two NGOs on the "misuse" of water for 20 matches, out of which nine were scheduled in Pune, eight in Mumbai and three in Nagpur.

The judges said that merely shifting the matches would not solve the water crisis, but it could be a beginning, and the water used for maintaining pitches could be diverted elsewhere.

The bench stated, "This court cannot lose sight that millions of people are facing acute scarcity of water...Animals and people are dying. In some districts like Latur, water is supplied twice a month and even non-potable water is not available. Same is the condition in cities next to Mumbai, namely Thane and Kalyan. Even Pune is facing acute water shortage. This court cannot act as a mute spectator and ignore the plight of millions."

Although the Royal Western Indian Turf Club (RWITC) had agreed to supply treated sewage water for maintenance of the grounds, the judges said that it would be difficult for "this court and even the state to monitor the situation and find out whether actually it is being done."

The judges said that RWITC's undertaking "does not satisfy us" and that doubts have been raised about suitability of this water for maintaining cricket pitches."

The bench expressed its disappointment that although it had expected the BCCI and other cricket bodies to come forward voluntarily to shift the venues, no such decision had been taken by them, hence the court had to intervene.

Rafiq Dada, senior counsel who appeared for the BCCI informed the court that RWITC had submitted an undertaking to supply non-potable water for Mumbai and Pune stadiums. He also said that the Nagpur stadium draws water from its own well. He said that IPL franchises Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants were ready to donate a sum of Rs 5 crore to the chief minister's Drought Relief Fund. But the court replied that, "Merely giving donation to the relief fund will not solve the issue."

In a reaction to the Bombay HC order, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said, "How many swimming pools of 5-star hotels have been shut? Have people stopped watering their lawns?" 

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