Television

5-judge Supreme Court bench to hear cricket case Tuesday

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MUMBAI: The Supreme Court has adjourned to Tuesday its hearing of Zee Telefilm's petition in the India cricket telecast rights case.



Reflecting the seriousness with which the apex court views the matter, a three-judge bench headed by chief justice Santosh Hegde has referred the case to a five-judge bench that will hear arguments in the case to which main respondent the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has already filed its caveat.



The first issue that the court will have to get out of the way is whether Zee's petition is maintainable or not.



In its petition, Zee has contended that it is the rightful owner of the cricket rights as it has deposited $ 20 million with the Indian cricket board as per terms and conditions. It has also contended that the cricket board's decision to cancel an earlier tender process, which saw Zee emerge as the highest bidder with a quote of $ 308 million, is unjust and the court should overturn that decision.



The respondents in the case include the government of India, ESPN-Star Sports, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and PriceWaterhouse Cooper (PwC), the audit firm that vetted the various bids.



Zee had moved the Supreme Court last Wednesday after the BCCI the previous day filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court that it was canceling the tendering process and would retain the rights of Indian cricket with itself. Immediately after that, ESPN Star Sports, a joint venture between Walt Disney and News Corp, withdrew its petition against the award of the rights to Zee.



Zee had said in its petition that its contract for cricket telecast rights with the BCCI was signed and was not incomplete as the BCCI maintains.

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