Television

Supreme Court to resume hearings in three cricket cases

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MUMBAI: Matters cricketing take centre stage once again in the legal arena with the Supreme Court scheduled to hear arguments in three important cases from tomorrow.

The apex court has fixed Tuesday, 30 November, to commence final hearings in the following three cases:

1) The Indian cricket board's status as a 'state', brought on by Zee Telefilms, after the BCCI cancelled the India cricket telecast rights that it had awarded to Subhash Chandra's company for an astronomical $ 308 million.

The BCCI's argument is that Zee's petition is not maintainable and should be dismissed since the board is "neither a state nor an instrumentality of the state" within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution.

The BCCI's contention is that the government does not have any direct or indirect control over it and it is free to conduct the affairs of sports as it chooses (in this particular case cancel the rights it awarded to Zee if it chooses to).

2) Appeals filed by the Indian cricket board against a Madras High Court restraining its newly elected office-bearers from discharging their functions and placing it under an administrator. The apex court had in a related order also stayed till final disposal the appointment of board supremo Jagmohan Dalmiya as the BCCI's patron-in-chief.

3) The last case relates to the commercial dispute between Ten Sports and Doordarshan over the historic India-Pakistan series telecast earlier this year. Ten Sports, which had exclusive terrestrial and cable and satellite rights to the series, had been forced on the apex court's directives to make the feed available to national broadcaster Doordarshan.

There is a whole lot riding on these cases, for the BCCI and Zee in particular. For Zee, its ambitions of launching a sports channel are reported to hinge on its being granted the India telecast rights.

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