HC order on IPL team selection

Guwahati, Nov. 7: Gauhati High Court today asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to frame norms and guidelines for selection of cities for Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises and upload the same on its website within three months.

A division bench of Chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Arup Kumar Goswami passed the order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a city-based businessman and social worker, Ghisa Lal Agarwal, challenging the tender notice dated October 14, 2012, issued by the BCCI inviting bids from 12 cities, excluding Guwahati, for a new IPL team.

Advocates Ashok Saraf, Apurba Sharma and Amit Goyal argued the case on behalf of the petitioner.

The PIL states that Guwahati, despite having the necessary infrastructure and facilities, is not included in the bidding process and seeks a court directive to the BCCI to include it in the list of cities for bidding for the new IPL team.

The court, however, disposed of the PIL today without passing any direction for inclusion of Guwahati as one of the cities for IPL franchise after the BCCI submitted that the Nehru Stadium here was very old and not fit for holding IPL matches. The BCCI stated that the two galleries of the stadium were in a dilapidated condition, which might suffer damage and cause injury to spectators when packed to capacity, and that its floodlights were inadequate for holding cricket matches.

Besides, the BCCI added, the stadium is being used for all kinds of sports and not confined to cricket. It stated that since the stadium was entirely owned by the government, the IPL franchise would not be able to use it at any time for matches or practice.

Senior advocate Niloyananda Dutta, who represented the BCCI in court, submitted that Guwahati shall be considered for IPL franchise after the under-construction cricket stadium, which is likely to be completed by the end of March next year, is ready.

The BCCI also told the court that "security concerns" were also a reason for not selecting Guwahati for IPL matches. On this, the petitioner's advocates contended that security in Guwahati was much better than Ranchi, which was included in the bidding process for the new IPL team. The petitioner said if Ranchi could be selected, then there should be no reason for not including Guwahati on security grounds.

During the course of hearing of the case, the BCCI, however, admitted that no norms or guidelines were laid down for selection of cities for IPL franchises. On this, the court asked the board to frame the same within three months.