Ferozshah Kotla Stadium    IANS
Ferozshah Kotla Stadium IANS

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today told the South Delhi Municipal Corporation that its neck would be on the line if the civic body wanted to certify the old club house of Ferozshah Kotla stadium as structurally stable to accommodate broadcasters and their equipment for the upcoming IPL matches. The high court said if the structure collapses and there is some casualty, the responsibility would rest on the corporation and the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), which owns the stadium.

According to the DDCA, if the old club house cannot be used to put up the broadcasting equipment and related personnel, IPL matches scheduled to be held there from April 23 would not take place at this stadium. Justice Rajiv Shakdher said, “You (DDCA) or I are not the experts. The government agency (SDMC) has to sign off on it. They have to put their neck on the line. If the building collapses and even if one person is injured or dies, it would be on you. Matches will come and go.”

The SDMC told the court that a consultant hired by it has given an interim report regarding the structural stability of the old club house, also known as R P Mehra block, and the final report would be available after getting some undertakings from DDCA.

SDMC has sought undertakings on a number of issues, including whether the old club house has been designed as per the National Building Code and executed on the basis of structural designs and drawings as per the Indian Standard codes given by structural engineers.

The court listed the matter for hearing on April 20 by when DDCA or its Administrator, former Supreme Court judge Vikramajit Sen, will have to inform the court on whether it can give the undertakings.

The court made it clear that the SDMC could seek any other information it requires to come to a final conclusion on whether the R P Mehra block was fit for use. It also told the corporation that the final report needed to be signed off by one of its senior engineers and the burden should not be put on the private consultant.

The high court was hearing an application moved by the court-appointed administrator seeking permission to use the old club house to set up the equipment of the broadcasters saying that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has said no match can be held there without that.

The court on the last date had declined to pass any interim orders till the SDMC certified the block as structurally stable.

The application, filed by advocate Pradeep Chhindra, has said tickets for the block, having a capacity of 5,000 seats, would not be issued to the general public and only broadcasting equipment and commentators would be there.

The application was moved in the main petition filed in 2016 by one N C Bakshi claiming that the old club house was unauthorised as it was built without any sanctioned plan and was a threat to public safety and human life and liable to be demolished.