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Uncertainty over T20 World Cup matches in Delhi remains

The T20 world cup matches to be played in Delhi remained a matter of uncertainty with the Delhi High Court today dismissing DDCA’s restoration plea seeking a no-objection certificate (NOC) from MCD for the Ferozshah Kotla stadium.

However, retired Justice Mukul Mudgal, appointed by the Delhi High Court to oversee the working of the association, told another bench that T-20 world cup matched may be permitted at the venue.

The report of Justice Mudgal favouring holding of matches was placed before a bench of justices S Muralidhar and Vibhu Bakhru immediately after a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw dismissed DDCA’s application to restore its 1997 petition seeking NOC from MCD for the stadium which was denied ASI clearance.

On learning of the development, the bench headed by Justice Muralidhar posted the matter regarding grant of occupancy certificate to DDCA to hold matches at the stadium for hearing on March 8.

It said the cricketing body may file a special leave petition against the rejection of its restoration application.

While rejecting DDCA’s restoration application, the bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini said the association cannot “live from match to match” and it can hold a match after demolishing a part of the structure which is within 100 metres of a monument, ‘Kotla Baoli’.

“You (DDCA) cannot live from match to match. This is your practice. You demolish and hold a match. It is not a matter of restoration. We do not find any reason. You (DDCA) demolish this and hold the match. If it is unauthorised, it has to go. It was held unauthorised and you have kept this pending since 1997. The 1997 writ petition was dismissed twice in default,” the bench said.

Justice Mudgal, in his report filed through advocate Nitin Mishra, has said, “This court was particularly concerned about safety aspects of the stadium and this has been addressed by DDCA to the satisfaction of SDMC and occupancy certificate is awaited. DDCA may be permitted to conduct the world T20 and IPL if deemed proper by this court. Furthermore, time may be granted to DDCA upto June 30 only, as a last resort, to address any other issues unrelated to safety raised by other authorities.”

After Justice Mudgal’s report was filed before the bench, the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) said DDCA submitted its drawings yesterday and it is perusing the same.

The NOC from Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) was awaited, it added. The court had earlier clarified that occupancy certificate would be granted to DDCA for conducting the T20 matches only if the cricketing body gets all requisite clearances from the concerned authorities.

In its 1997 petition, the DDCA had challenged a June 1992 notification of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as per which construction within 100 metres of a monument, in present case the ‘Kotla Baoli’, is prohibited.

As per DDCA’s petition, only the outer parapet wall of the monument was at a 100 meter distance from the stadium and not the actual monument. 

It had also said there was a road between the monument’s wall and the stadium.

The petition was dismissed in 2013 for non-prosecution, but was allowed to be revived if DDCA’s paid Rs 10,000 as cost each to the MCD, the Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment, Delhi Urban Arts Commission and ASI.

During the brief hearing on Thursday, advocate Sangram Pattnaik, appearing for DDCA, said that they have deposited the cost.

“Let the T20 world cup go on. Put us to any terms. We will abide by it. At least this application for restoration should be heard. Fix any date,” he urged the bench.

The court, however, was not inclined and said, “You just want to keep this petition of 1997 pending.”
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