New Delhi: The fate of the upcoming ICC World T20 semi-final match at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium is uncertain as Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) on Monday failed to get any relief from Delhi High Court over lack of completion certificate for its old club house there.
The petition by the cricketing body seeking a direction to South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to issue the certificate for the RP Mehra block came up for hearing before Justice AK Pathak, who referred the plea to a division bench observing that DDCA's issues are pending before it.
At the outset, the bench said, "I cannot allow you (DDCA) to hold matches at this stage until you get the completion certificate." The semi-final match is slated on 30 March.
Senior advocates Sandeep Sethi and Rajiv Nayar, appearing for DDCA, said the RP Mehra block is there since 1996 and the occupancy certificate has already been issued.
Sethi said the concern was Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal's view regarding this block due to which the International Cricket Council (ICC) is seeking clarification from the DDCA.
"Event by event, the court has directed SDMC to grant us the certificate. SDMC is not objecting to the structure (RP Mehra block). This matter deserves clarification from the court. We are aggrieved by Justice Mudgal's letter (to BCCI).
The T20 World Cup is yet to complete. A semi-final match is in Delhi," he told the court.
Sethi further said "it is not the SDMC which is bothering us. It is Justice Mudgal's view which is the problem. ICC is seeking clarifications on this from us."
To this, the bench said, "Your RP Mehra block is not as per the sanctioned construction plan."
Justice Mudgal, who has been appointed by the High Court to oversee the functioning of DDCA, has asked the cricketing body not to sell tickets for RP Mehra block, having a capacity of around 1,800, and that it be used only for the broadcasters and the media.
Sethi referred to the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (special provisions) Second Act 2011 and said that the RP Mehra block cannot be held illegal or unauthorised since the act provides for regularisation of the structure.
DDCA's petition is likely to come up for hearing on Tuesday before a division bench headed by Justice S Muralidhar. During the hearing, the court referred to an 8 March order passed by division bench before which SDMC had said occupancy certificate was for the entire stadium barring RP Mehra block, which falls within 100 m of a protected monument and lacks clearance from Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
The division bench had said the issue of RP Mehra block was for the DDCA and SDMC to sort it out. During the hearing, Delhi government senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra told the court that DDCA was aware of this fact when the matter was heard by the division bench and this issue should have been raised there.
"They (DDCA) are now hunting. All these things were known to them when the matter was pending before the division bench.
This is unfair. They should have filed this petition before the division bench," he said.
To this, Sethi said the division bench has nowhere said that the RP Mehra block is unauthorised.
"Justice Mudgal is harbouring a view that there is an ambiguity on the use of RP Mehra block," he said.
However, counsel appearing for SDMC said the matter should be referred to the division bench. After hearing the submission, the court said that DDCA's petition will be listed for hearing on Tuesday before the division bench.
At the fag end of the hearing, advocate Sangram Patnaik, appearing for DDCA, said the only concern was that the matches
should be allowed to be played. To this, the bench said, "Without the RP Mehra block, the matches can go on. No one has stopped you from holding match."