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Musharraf match back in limbo
- Plea for stay on ODI in 'dilapidated' stadium

New Delhi, April 8: The Ferozeshah Kotla one-dayer, that Pervez Musharraf is scheduled to watch with Manmohan Singh, is back under a cloud.

The Supreme Court will hear a petition on Monday seeking a stay on the April 17 match on the grounds that the 'dilapidated' Kotla stadium is not fit to host it and that lives of thousands of spectators would be in danger if it goes ahead.

Society for Safe Structures, a Delhi-based NGO, filed the petition asking that the occupancy certificate and permission granted by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to the Delhi and District Cricket Association, the local organisers of the match, be quashed.

The society's original petition seeking a directive to the Centre and all states for strictly implementing construction laws for all buildings ' residential, commercial and entertainment ' is pending before the court. The appeal on the one-dayer came as an interim application and was urgently referred to during 'mention hour' for early hearing.

It said the occupancy certificate was granted to the cricket association by the MCD without the 'mandatory inspection and clearance' of other authorities, including the Delhi Fire Service and the Delhi Urban Art Commission.

The petition alleged that the structural stability certificate given by the cricket association as part of the notice for completion under the Delhi building by-laws was 'bogus, false, illegal and ineffective and inconsequential' for grant of occupancy certificate.

The controversy began when cricket association chief and BJP leader Arun Jaitley said on March 31 that the match was uncertain because MCD had not given clearance for holding it at the three-tier stadium that is under renovation. The MCD was reported to have said nobody could sit under the two tiers just constructed, reducing the stadium's capacity to 12,000.

Chief minister Sheila Dikshit intervened, on instructions from the Prime Minister, and on April 2 the MCD granted permission for temporary occupancy of the stadium. The cloud over the match appeared to have lifted.

But yesterday, the Society for Safe Structures moved the petition seeking a stay. It will be heard on Monday by a division bench of Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti and Justice G.P. Mathur.

The society said the present structure violates the 'Protection of Human Rights Act' as people's right to life is in danger. The temporary occupancy certificate given by the MCD is 'arbitrary and discriminatory', 'illegal and illogical' and 'violative of powers, authority and responsibilities of municipalities', it added.

A 'dangerous precedent' has been set by the MCD's hurried granting of a temporary occupancy certificate to an unfinished building, the petition said. It accused the Union ministries of urban development and human resource development as well as the Delhi Development Authority and the MCD of not 'recognising the inherent risk and danger to the lives of people' who would assemble to watch the match.

The society sought a directive that the construction at Kotla be completed before the cricket association obtains the completion certificate.

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