PIL Seeking Cancellation of India-South Africa T20 Match at Barabati Stadium Is Rejected by Orissa High Court

In the case of Sanjay Kumar Naik v. State of Odisha & Ors.(Case No.: W.P.(C) (PIL) No. 14024 of 2022), Sanjay Kumar Naik’s Public Interest Litigation (PIL) requesting the cancellation of the T-20 International match between India and South Africa at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack was denied by the Orissa High Court. The game is slated to take place on June 12, 2022. After the State guaranteed safety and security on the stadium grounds, a vacation bench made up of Justices Sangam Kumar Sahoo and Murahari Sri Raman dismissed the petition.

Facts: The petitioner had stated that no certificate for structure safety or for fire safety measures had been provided to the relevant body for organizing an international match that is expected to draw about 45,000 spectators. The petitioner has requested an immediate intervention from the High Court. He named 15 parties, including the State of Odisha, the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA), and the BCCI, as respondents. The petitioner argued that no organization should be permitted to carry out any task with the assistance of government employees if it is not abiding by a law’s mandatory requirements. Additionally, it said that officials in the government must be aware of their obligations to ensure adherence to the laws’ necessary requirements, notably those pertaining to “fire safety measures” under the Odisha Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Rules, 2017. (as amended in 2019). According to the petition, the majority of the stadium’s construction is over 70 years old, and no “competent authority structural stability certificate” has been given. In light of this, the petitioner had requested that the court order the opposing parties to postpone holding the T-20 international match until they had made all essential fire safety precautions and obtained certificates strictly in conformity with the Fire Safety Rules, 2017.

Judgement: “The learned Advocate General strongly contended that the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) has already made elaborate and comprehensive arrangements for smooth and successful conduct of the event in collaboration with the State Government, Police department, and other stake holders, and several measures have been taken towards fire safety with the help of Fire Services Department and safety of spectators is the utmost concern of the State Government,” the bench stated. The court further noted that the petitioner’s case was already under consideration by the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC), Bhubaneswar, and that the OHRC had instructed the DCP in Cuttack and the OCA to make sure that all necessary preparations were made. Again, it was noted that the petitioner’s approach to the Court had been excessively delayed and that there were just five days left for the event to take place. The Court was hesitant to offer the petitioner any remedy in light of the Advocate General’s emphatic assertion that all appropriate precautions had already been taken to ensure the spectators’ safety.

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