New Delhi, Aug 31 (PTI) The Supreme Court has held that the activities of the Board of Cricket in India (BCCI) are commercial in nature and can be called a ‘shop’ in terms of the provisions of the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Act.
The top court said that the ESI Act is a welfare law framed by the Center and the words used in the Act should not be narrowly interpreted as it would expose the employees of the establishments covered under it to various risks associated with their lives, health etc. Insures and charges the employer.
A bench of Justices MR Shah and PS Narasimha observed that the ESI Court and the High Court had done no wrong in treating BCCI as a ‘shop’ under the ESI Act.
The bench said, “Having regard to the systematic activities of the BCCI, especially in the sale of tickets for cricket matches, providing entertainment, charging price for its services, receiving income from international tours and the Indian Premier League, the High Court has rightly concluded that BCCI is carrying on systematic economic commercial activities and hence can be termed as ‘shop’ under the provisions of the ESI Act.
In response to these questions, the top court said whether BCCI can be called a ‘shop’ as per the notification dated September 18, 1978, and whether the provisions of the ESI Act will be applicable to BCCI or not.
The Bombay High Court had held that BCCI comes within the meaning of ‘shop’ in terms of notification dated 18 September 1978 issued by the Government of Maharashtra under the provisions of section 1(5) of the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948.
The top court said the word ‘shop’ should not be interpreted in the traditional sense as it would not serve the purpose of the ESI Act.
He said that the word ‘shop’ should be taken in a wider sense to serve the purposes of the ESI Act.
The Supreme Court said that there is no point in the BCCI in its affidavit to say that its principal activity is to promote cricket and sports and hence should not be brought within the meaning of ‘shop’ under the ESI Act.
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