The mess that the Indian Premier League (IPL) finds itself in got worse on Thursday, with the Bombay High Court asking if it was nothing more than a money-making institution and directing it to furnish details of income generated by sale of tickets, telecast rights and advertisements from matches played so far in Maharashtra.
The court also called for constitutions of both the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) and IPL to see if the latter was an independent entity or part of the former.
The BCCI has been told to respond by Monday.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai seeking implementation of the state Cabinet’s decision to levy entertainment tax on income generated from sale of tickets and telecast rights of IPL matches played in the state.
Desai’s lawyer Balkrishna Joshi argued that entertainment tax worth crores of rupees was not being recovered from IPL though the Cabinet had, on January 20, decided to levy tax on IPL matches at the rate of 25 per cent in Mumbai and 20 per cent in other cities.
Government pleader D.A. Nalawade, however, told the court that though the issued had been discussed in the meet, no such decision had been taken.
The bench of Justice P.B. Majmudar and Justice R.G. Ketkar then asked why exemption had been given to IPL.
Justice Ketkar questioned the state’s authority to grant such exemption.
The judges also expressed displeasure over the BCCI’s “casual approach” towards courts after Neha Bhide, lawyer for the cricketing bodies, failed to state if IPL was a separate entity.
“Are they just interested in making money?” asked Justice Majmudar after Bhide clarified she had oral instructions to appear in the matter but wasn’t provided a copy of the petition.
“They haven’t even bothered to send some official,” noted the judge, adding, “It is expected of them to send somebody when they instruct you to appear in the matter.”