The vacation bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear a Public interest Litigation (PIL) regarding the postponement of the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The matter was mentioned on an urgent basis by Advocate ML Agarwal before the bench comprising of Justice U U Lalit and Justice Aniruddha Bose. Sharma in his petition mentioned that more than 30,000 people are expected to arrive for the IPL matches but there are no safety and precaution measures adopted in light for the same. He also suggested that the IPL must be deferred in the light of coronavirus.
Replying to the PIL Justice U.U. Lalit said that the Bench is assembled for urgent hearings and this issue may be heard with regular matters after the Court resumes on March 16 after Holi vacations. The two-months long IPL session is set to start from March 29.
Earlier on Thursday, in a big development, a Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) source confirmed that no foreign player will be available for the upcoming IPL till April 15 due to the visa restrictions imposed by the government in wake of COVID-19 outbreak.
On March 10, a plea was been filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the central government not to allow the Board of Control for Cricket in India to conduct Indian Premier League T20 cricket matches from March 29-May 24 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The PIL, filed by advocate G Alex Benziger, is likely to come up before a division bench comprising Justices M M Sundresh and Krishnan Ramaswamy on March 12. "As on date, as per the website of the World Health Organisation, there was no specific medicine or to prevent or to treat the COVID-19," the petitioner said.
On Wednesday evening, the Union Government announced that all existing visas, barring diplomatic, UN/International Organisations, employment and project visas, will stand suspended till April 15, 2020.
This advisory also applies for people with visa-free travel, and to OCI cardholders, whose visa-free access will be temporarily suspended with effect from March 13, 2020. However, the statement mentioned that any foreign national who intends to travel to India for any compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Embassy for further clarity or guidance.
More than 62 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in India. The official numbers have stopped being updated by the Central government. No deaths have been reported so far in India.
Globally, around 4,600 people have died due to Coronavirus, with the epicenter being in China. The virus has infected around 1,26,000 people globally and has now spread to North America, South America, Europe, New Zealand, and to more than 100 other countries.