‘Those who buy ticket to watch match are deprived of fair play’

Eminent legal experts are unanimous that a case of ‘conspiracy’ and ‘cheating’ spectators had been made out against the three cricketers accused of ‘spot-fixing’ in the ongoing IPL tournament.

The former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Mukul Mudgal, says, “It is a clear case of cheating the spectators. Spectators who buy tickets are deprived of fair play if players deliberately underperform to their potential. A case of conspiracy is also attracted for cheating the public who had parted [with their] money for the match. But a person who makes betting cannot complain of cheating, as betting is illegal in India.”

In this context, Justice Mudgal, who is associated with various sports bodies, underlined the need for a law to make betting legal. “If there is a law, then if odd or unusual betting takes place, a case of cheating will be attracted.”

IPC Section 420 says, “whoever cheats and thereby dishonestly induces a person deceived to deliver any property to any person, or to make, alter or destroy the whole or any part of a valuable security, or anything which is signed or sealed, and which is capable of being converted into a valuable security, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran shared the sentiments of Justice Mudgal. He said: “the players [accused of spot-fixing] are cheating spectators who are expecting value for money for the game. But if a player dishonestly gives away runs; or a player bowls a wide or a no-ball or a player drops a catch, it becomes an intentional act of cheating the spectators.”

Senior advocate K.V. Viswanathan, who endorsed the views of Justice Mudgal, said: “in this case cheating is made out as the players are cheating the public who bought the ticket in good faith to watch a fair match. But if some players deliberately indulge in conspiracy and resort to ‘match-fixing’ spectators are deprived of their property by deception as defined in Section 420 IPC, in this case, money paid for the ticket. Apart from cheating spectators, the players concerned have also cheated the franchise, which had paid them money and reposed a faith that they will perform to their potential.”

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