With the court verdict, a total of 13 matches will have to be shifted out of the state
The Bombay High Court on Wednesday ordered the Board of Control for Cricket in India to shift out all IPL matches scheduled to be held in drought-hit Maharashtra on and after April 30.
A bench of Justices V.M. Kanade and M.S. Karni gave the direction, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by two NGOs seeking to relocate IPL matches from Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur in view of the severe state-wide drought in Maharashtra.
That means, altogether 13 IPL matches will have to be shifted out. Six matches scheduled to be held in the state before April 30 will not be affected. The final scheduled to be held at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium on May 29 will have to be played at a new venue.
Earlier in the day, the BCCI had told the court that it would not be feasible for the franchises involved to shift the matches out of Maharashtra and informed the court of the Mumbai and Pune teams' willingness to contribute Rs 5 crore towards the Chief Minister's drought relief fund.
BCCI's counsel Rafiq Dada also told the high court that the Mahrashtra cricket board was ready to supply over 60 lakh litres of non-potable water to drought-hit areas free of cost.
He said the water would be supplied in support with Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), Mumbai Cricket Association and Maharashtra Cricket Association.
"It would not be feasible to shift matches out of Pune as it will disturb the Pune team's brand value and economic balance," he said.
The franchises of Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants are willing to contribute Rs 5 crore to the CM's drought relief fund, Dada said.
Pune team franchise's senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas told the court, "We have already invested a lot of money. Shifting matches at this stage will not only affect the finances, but if the home team's game is shifted to another state, it will lose support."
Dada conceded this argument and said over Rs 30 crore have been invested by the franchises for holding the matches in their respective home cities.
He said during the T20 World Cup held recently, nine qualifying matches were held in Nagpur, but at that time nobody raised a hue and cry about water wastage.