Qaiser Mohammad Ali
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to issue a provisional occupancy certificate to the Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium so that the DDCA could host the India-South Africa fourth Test from 3 December.
A double bench, headed by Badar Durrez Ahmed, ordered the SDMC to provide the certificate after the DCCA field a fresh application in an old case. The bench, however, attached certain conditions for the DDCA while pronouncing the order.
A DDCA official said that the association would now have to deposit Rs 50 lakh with the MCD within two weeks to complete the formalities and secure the provisional occupancy certificate.
However, since the DDCA has only about Rs 13,000 in hand it will have to arrange the money from somewhere to meet the court order.
After Arvind Kejriwal-headed Delhi government told the DDCA to pay Rs 24.46 crore entertainment tax, which included old dues and penalty, and it looked like that the virtually bankrupt DDCA wouldn’t be able to pay up, the BCCI set a deadline of 17 November for the association.
And after the DDCA moved Delhi High Court on Tuesday and the hearing stretched to Wednesday, the BCCI extended the deadline till a court order came.
The court also appointed Mukul Mudgal, a former chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court who also probed the 2013 IPL betting-fixing case, to oversee the conduct of the five-day match starting on 3 December.
The entertainment tax issue is yet to be resolved to the satisfaction of all. This issue is to be heard by the same double bench of Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva in the Delhi High Court on Thursday.
After Wednesday’s court order (the written order is yet to be published), BCCI president Shashank Manohar said that he would be able to comment on giving the another extension of deadline to the DDCA only after studying reading the order.
Manohar, when told that the hearing in the entertainment tax would be heard on Thursday, told jantakareporter.com, “But TV channels are reporting that the court has allowed the DDCA to host the Test. We will say something only after studying the order.”
The Delhi Excise Department had imposed Rs 24.45 crore tax, including penalty, on the DDCA in an old case.
DDCA counsel Sunil Kumar Mittal, the who appeared in the case, said that getting the clearance in the entertainment tax case would be a “mere formality”.
“Today, the court ordered the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to give a provisional occupancy certificate to the DDCA,” Mittal, a former DDCA director and member of its executive committee, told jantakareporter.com
“The court has told the DDCA to secure all certificates from various government agencies by 31 March 2016,” he said.
Asked about the role of Mukul Mudgal, Mittal said that during arguments in the court he himself had suggested that the court could appoint an eminent person to oversee the organisation of the match.
“The court then appointed Justice Mukul Mudgal to kind of supervise the match and in a lighter vein said that he would ‘oversee and see’ the match,” said Mittal. “The court also said that if Justice Mudgal needs an assistant he should be provided one.”
Mudgal, a keen cricket fan and follower, told jantakareporter.com that he would accept the responsibility given to him.
It will be the 14th time that the DDCA would be seeking such a certificate from the municipal corporation, whose counsel vehemently opposed the association’s prayer for relief.
The court also said that it was “fed up” with the DDCA seeking provisional certificates every time before an international match. That is why it said that it should clear all dues and secure all certificates by 31 March 2016.