The Bombay High Court has directed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA), and state authorities to provide basic facilities at all the local grounds in the state, citing that “your next big star might come from a public ground.”
A bench of Justices Anil Menon and MS Karnik said several children, as well as adults, played cricket and other sports on public grounds across the state. Most of these grounds, whether under the control of civic bodies or cricket associations, were lacking basic facilities.
The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Bombay HC lawyer Rahul Tiwari who had petitioned that the local grounds in the state lacked amenities like clean drinking water or toilets for the players to use.
Most Of These Grounds In The State Do Not Have Access To Clean Drinking Water Or To A Toilet- PIL In Bombay High Court States
Bombay HC lawyer Rahul Tiwari, in his Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in the Bombay High Court, told the HC that he himself was a professional cricket player and had participated in various state and district level tournaments. However, he pointed out the lack of even the basic facilities at the venues.
This is despite the fact that the internal memorandums of both the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the MCA instructed that basic facilities be provided at training camps, or such spots where a game of cricket was on, to “encourage cricket.”
“When one books a public ground for practice, one is required to pay a fee to the civic body or to the sports association under whose jurisdiction the ground falls. But, most of these grounds, even where professional cricket camps are organized, do not have access to clean drinking water or to a toilet that can be used by players,” Tiwari said in his PIL.
The MCA and the BCCI counsels, however, told the HC that most public grounds in the state were under the jurisdiction of municipal bodies. They further said even in cases where they organized camps or practice matches, the permission to provide basic facilities was often denied by civic or state authorities concerned.
However, the bench was not satisfied with the answer and stated:
“Have you ever applied and then have been denied permission? File an affidavit. This is not an adversarial litigation, for you might get your next star from a public ground. So many bright children are playing on public grounds. These are the last organisations that can say they do not have funds. Sports have to be encouraged, not just for children but for adults as well.”
The HC said the Maharashtra government, BMC, MCA, and the BCCI must file their respective affidavits within two weeks, detailing how many grounds were under their jurisdiction and what facilities were made available there.