The Madras High Court Bench here on Monday took cognisance of a public interest litigation petition filed by a lawyer to ban the Indian cricket team from playing with the Sri Lankan team in future, including the ongoing home series, as a mark of protest against alleged genocide in the island nation.

The petitioner, A. Joel Paul Antony (29), had originally filed the PIL petition last month to restrain the Indian team from visiting Sri Lanka to participate in a tri-series held in September. The Court on September 9 dismissed a sub-petition seeking interim orders and kept the main petition pending.

After a month, this main PIL petition came up for hearing on Monday when the lawyer filed an amendment petition to alter the relief sought for. He now wanted the court to ban all future matches between the two countries including the current series comprising three test matches, five one-day internationals and two Twenty-20 matches to be held until December 27.

A Division Bench of Justices D. Murugesan and S. Nagamuthu accepted the amendment petition without insisting on the petitioner to file a fresh PIL petition. They also directed the Centre as well as the Board of Control for Cricket in India to file their counter affidavits by November 30. "Ordering the amendment petition does not mean deciding the issue on merits," the judges said.

Dismissing the sub-petition on September 9, a Division Bench of Justice P. Murgesen and Justice C.S. Karnan pointed out that the Supreme Court in 2006 had held that courts should not interfere in matters related to Government’s foreign policy. Then, the BCCI counsel argued that preventing the Indian cricket team from going to Sri Lanka might affect the relationship between the two countries.

In his counter affidavit, N. Srinivasan, Honorary Secretary, BCCI, had said that the cricket board was not created by any Statute. No part of share capital was held by the government. Practically, no finance was given by the Government to meet the Board’s expenditure and there was no deep and pervasive State control.

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