Officials of the Mumbai Hockey Association (MHA) yesterday were all smiles as the Super League got underway with the opening encounter between Central Railway and Mumbai Customs. Their joy though was not solely due to the action on the astro-turf.
The Bombay City Civil Court yesterday ruled against the Maharashtra state government’s decision to cancel the lease of the land allotted to MHA at Churchgate. In fact, the court order (a copy of which is with MiD DAY) slammed the state authorities saying that the “the action of canceling of lease by the state government without giving sound reasons appears to be arbitrary and high handed.”
The MHA had received a letter on October 17, 2012, signed by school education and sports department under-secretary Satish Jondhale, wherein the state had said that land is being taken back from MHA since the body has a host of complaints registered against them alleging “violations of the lease agreement and rules and regulations, failure to encourage hockey, utilisation of the plot for wedding receptions and other commercial functions, renovation of the stadium and administration office without the government’s consent.
” Thereafter, MHA was also issued an eviction order (October 22, 2012) under the Bombay Government Premises Eviction Act. However, the recent Bombay City Civil Court directive (August 31, 2013) quashed most of the allegations against MHA and said that the “the order passed by the Competent Authority is passed without properly appreciating the evidence on record and that the conclusions drawn by the Competent Authority are erroneous and need to be set aside.”
Though the State government can move a higher court, MHA officials can heave a sigh of relief for now. “The court order in our favour states that we have successfully promoted hockey since 1972. This ruling comes as a relief to us because now we can focus on our primary objective — to promote hockey,” MHA Hon Secretary Ram Singh Rathod told MiD DAY yesterday.
However, MHA is not treating this as a victory. “I met Maharashtra’s Minister for Sports & Youth Welfare Padmakar Valvi this morning (Monday) to show him the order and suggest that we should now look at developing hockey together, since the state, just like us, also intends to promote hockey.
However, the minister had not yet received the order, so was not in a position to pass his judgment. I hope and believe good sense prevails and there is no further wastage of time in court cases and that Mr Valvi agrees to work towards promoting Mumbai hockey with us,” Rathod said.