Even as the Bombay high court ordered that no Indian Premier League (IPL) match be held in Maharashtra from April 30 onwards, it said it will continue to monitor the state government’s progress on tackling the problem of water scarcity. A bench of justice VM Kanade and justice MS Karnik also directed the BMC to file a report, identifying the source of water that is sold and distributed through private tankers.
The directions came after both the BMC and the state government submitted their respective affidavits on the current water shortage and the use of both potable and non-potable water for the IPL matches. While the BMC submitted it was already conducting the inquiry, the state government told the court that as per constitutional provisions, monitoring the supply of water was the “principle duty of the BMC.”
The government, which had been maintaining it was indifferent to the IPL, also seemed to have changed its stand during Wednesday’s hearing, as the acting advocate general Rohit Deo told the bench that because it had been established that drinking water was not being wasted during the matches, there was no need to shift IPL out the state.
Deo went on to say that the state government could not be “judgmental” and take an unwarranted harsh stand against the IPL. “We can see there is a drought, but this does not mean that all sports events will be chased out of the state. The IPL is not something sinful that the government needs to run it out (sic),” Deo said.
“If there is no misuse of drinking water then there is no need to run IPL out (sic). For if we take such a harsh stand, then will we also proceed to ban all celebratory or recreational activity? One will then ask us to ban theater, movies and circuses in the state,” Deo said.
The bench, however, took a strong objection to the state’s submission. “It has been brought to our notice that most districts in Marathwada and Vidarbha are reeling under acute water shortage. The state submits that at least 28,000 villages in Maharashtra are facing a drought-like situation. Even cattle and animals are dying. In some regions in Marathwada, there is not even a drop of water for human consumption and in some districts like Latur, water is supplied only twice a month,” the bench said. The high court is likely to take up the matter for further hearing on May 2 this year.