The Bombay High Court on Thursday allowed the opening match of the IPL to be played at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, but will decide later whether to allow the 19 other games scheduled for Maharashtra to continue as planned, or rule to have them transferred to other states.
The court was hearing two PILs asking to shift IPL matches out of Maharashtra as the state has declared a drought, while 65 lakh litres of water will be required to prepare the cricket pitches in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, according to The Telegraph.
On Friday, the high court bench hearing the PILs told the acting state attorney-general opposing the pleas: "People are more important or your IPL matches? Ideally, you should shift the IPL matches to some other state."
When the acting state advocate-general said that the state government was providing Wankhede "just 22k litres potable water" a day, the bench of Justices VM Kanade and MS Karnik responded: "Have you thought if it doesn't rain this monsoon what will happen?"
It continued: "So much disparity! Here are people who can use as much water as they want and people in Thane get water once in three days. The anomaly we cannot understand."
Wankhede's managers, the Mumbai Cricket Association, told the bench that 40 lakh litres of water would be needed for the seven IPL matches scheduled at the stadium.
The petitioners responded by pointing out that thousands in villages in the state did not have water even for cooking and sanitation.
The court gave the state government till Tuesday to "make an inquiry on what is the source of water that tankers get".
More than half of Maharashtra is suffering a drought. In some districts, a glass of drinking water is a luxury.