Read Order: The Board of Control for Cricket in India v. Regional Director Employees State Insurance Corporation and anr 

Tulip Kanth

Mumbai, July 1, 2022: The Bombay High Court has upheld the view of the Employees’ Insurance Court that the Appellant-Board of Control for Cricket in India is covered under the provision of Section 1(5) of the Employees’ State Insurance Act,1948 after noticing that a systematic commercial profit making activity is undertaken on its behalf.

The Bench of Justice Bharati Dangre dismissed an appeal filed by BCCI(appellant-Board) being aggrieved by the impugned judgment of Employees’ Insurance Court at Bombay declaring that the BCCI is covered within the meaning of ‘shop’ as per notification dated September 18,1978 issued by the Government of Maharashtra under the provisions of Section 1(5) of the Employees’ State Insurance Act and the ESI Court, had remitted the matter for determining the contribution from the appellant Board in the wake of the observations made in the impugned judgment.

In 2011, the Board office was surveyed by the Insurance Inspector and the Board was allotted a Code number, indicating applicability of the provisions of ESI Act to the Board. The Board resisted the said communication and clarified that it is a non-profit organization, where no commercial/ economic/manufacturing activities are performed or carried on and it requested the ESI Corporation to reconsider its decision of allotment ESI Code.

Being aggrieved by the impugned order which determined the amount of contribution to the tune of Rs.4,93,350, challenge was raised before ESI Court, Mumbai. However, the applicability of the provisions of ESIC to the BCCI, was held to be proved and it was declared that the decision of the Corporation to cover the Board as ‘shop’ in terms was also held to be legal. It was this decision which was impugned in the First Appeal.The main issue before the Bench was whether the BCCI is a ‘shop’ in the context of the ESI Act, 1948.

Clarifying on the aspect of commercial activities being carried out by the Board, the Bench noticed that the Board has its source of income on different counts like holding of international tours, income from IPL, selling rights of broadcasting the cricket matches, sponsorship, sale of tickets. It also makes available the facility of canteen, lay out cricket ground and provide amenities for the convenience and benefits of the members, players and cricket fans, added the Bench.

The decision of the Apex Court in ESI Corporation Vs. Hyderabad Race Club was also referred to wherein  it was held that a race club is an establishment and the appellant Turf Clubs are duly covered under the term ‘shop’ for the purpose of ESI Act and notification issued thereunder.

The Bench affirmed the view of the ESI Court by saying, “The ESI Court after referring the documents on record, and on appreciating the evidence that has come before it, has held that the ESI Act, 1948 is applicable to the Appellant Board, since it is covered under the definition of ‘shop’ under Section 1(5 ) of the Act. The Corporation as well as the Court has noticed a systematic commercial profit making activity on behalf of the Board and I, conquer with the said finding.” Thus, without  finding any justiceability in disturbing the direction issued by the ESIC, Mumbai, the Bench dismissed the Appeal.

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