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SC rejects MCA, Maharashtra Cricket Association appeals
Wednesday 27 April 2016

The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeals of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and the Maharashtra Cricket Association against the Bombay High Court order that had ruled all IPL 2016 matches to be played in Maharashtra in May to be moved out. "It is better to move out the matches in wake of the drought," the Supreme Court order stated.

The MCA and Maharashtra Cricket Associations had filed separate pleas in the Supreme Court last week, stating that they would use only treated sewage water for the matches. "[Our contention] is that there is loss of revenue and diminishing of job opportunities," MCA joint-secretary Unmesh Khanvilkar had told ESPNcricinfo. "We are challenging it on that [ground] only because we are ready to use [treated] sewage water for the matches. Even without the IPL, we use the water to maintain the grass."

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the MCA, had also told the Supreme Court that the association was not against the suffering people of Marathwada who are reeling under drought.

The Bombay High Court's ruling had come earlier this month after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) questioned the hosting of IPL matches in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur while severe drought persisted in Maharashtra. The court had sought an explanation from the BCCI and the state associations on why water should be "wasted" on hosting the games when the state faced one of its worst ever droughts. The court later allowed the opening match to be held as scheduled in Mumbai on April 9, and asked the Maharashtra state government and Mumbai's civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, to spell out their plans to tackle the problem of water shortage. 

The board had, in its response, stated its intention to use treated sewage water for ground preparation in Mumbai and Pune. Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants, the franchises based in Maharashtra, had proposed to contribute INR 5 crore to the Maharashtra chief minister's drought relief fund and supply 40 lakh litres of water to drought-hit areas at their own cost. The High Court, however, ruled that matches be shifted out and the verdict originally affected 13 matches, including the final which was to be held in Mumbai on May 29.

The court later granted permission to conduct the match between Supergiants and Mumbai in Pune on May 1, after the BCCI had sought permission for the same citing logistical difficulties, due to a short turnaround time from the match between Supergiants and Gujarat Lions on April 29 at the same venue. Pune will miss out on five matches, including the Eliminator and the second Qualifier, while no games will be held in Nagpur.

Mumbai had opted for Jaipur's Sawai Mansingh Stadium as their alternative home venue, while Supergiants had listed Visakhapatnam as their alternative ground. Mumbai will play their last game at the Wankhede Stadium for IPL 2016 on April 28 against Kolkata Knight Riders, while Supergiants' last match at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium will be on May 1, against Mumbai.

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