The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed that Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar be made a party to the petition on the Indian Premier League (IPL) filed by Shiv Sena MLA Subhash Desai.
It also sent notice to the Centre seeking a clarification on the code of conduct for ministers holding positions in profit-making organisations. The government has to reply on June 22.
Mr. Desai's petition pertains to the exemption of entertainment duty on the third edition of IPL. “The court directed us to make Mr. Pawar a party, and accordingly we would make him a respondent,” Mr. Desai's lawyer Balkrishna Joshi told TheHindu over the phone.
The court has also asked the Additional Solicitor-General to clarify if there would be a conflict of interests when a minister held a position in a profit-making institution.
“The Additional Solicitor-General has been asked to address the court on June 22 on whether a Central or State minister can be a member or office-bearer of a profit-making organisation like the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India].
“The court was of the prima facie opinion whether such connections with ministers would not fall under the category of office of profit. We have stated in our petition that Mr. Pawar was the BCCI president. The Centre, therefore, has been directed to clarify on the code of conduct,” Mr. Joshi said.
Mr. Pawar is a former BCCI president and the next president of the International Cricket Council (ICC). The court sought the same clarification from the government in its last hearing on the petition as well.
Government Pleader Dhairyasheel Nalavade told TheHindu that the petitioners requested the court that along with Mr. Pawar, the former IPL Commissioner, Lalit Modi, and IPL interim chairman Chirayu Amin also be made respondents in the petition.