Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
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The fourth Test of the India-South Africa series is likely to be held in Delhi, with the Delhi High Court on Wednesday asking the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to provide the Delhi & Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) the provisional clearance needed to organise the match at Feroz Shah Kotla. The two-judge divisional bench of the high court also appointed Justice Mukul Mudgal as an observer for the match pending his approval.
However, there remains one last roadblock in the way of Delhi hosting the Test, which starts on December 3: getting the no-objection certificate, relating to entertainment tax, from the excise department of the Delhi government. The DDCA has accumulated, despite repeated reminders, entertainment tax dues amounting to Rs 24.46 crore from 2008 onwards.
The court adjourned the matter to Thursday morning, when it will hear the counsels from both DDCA and the government before issuing a final order. In the interim, the court also asked the DDCA to get clearances from the various civic bodies, which are mandatory.
The MCD provisional certificate was one of the two clearances the DDCA had to procure in order to get the permission from the BCCI to host the Test match scheduled to be played between December 3-7. The court asked the MCD to issue the clearance only for the period between December 1-10. It also warned the DDCA to not approach the court next time and clear all outstanding to the MCD by March 31, 2016.
The BCCI, which had extended the original deadline of November 17 it had set for DDCA to get the clearances, has decided not to comment on the issue.
The DDCA, however, welcomed the decision. "A major hurdle has been crossed and we have got relief," DDCA vice-president Chetan Chauhan told PTI.
"We also welcome Justice Mudgal to oversee the match and its organising. He (Mudgal) is a good man, a cricket lover and very reasonable. He is very impartial and we are happy to carry on our duties under his guidance.The discussion on entertainment tax will be brought up in tomorrow's hearing. We are not running away from it but it should be reasonable."