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HC refuses stay on sports telecast ordinance

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NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today refused to stay the operation of the ordinance asking private sports channels to share live feed of cricket and other sports events with public broadcaster Prasar Bharti.

A division bench headed by Justice Vikramajit Sen adjourned the matter till 15 February for further hearing.

Senior Counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for Prasar Bharati, pleaded that the ordinance could only be stayed under extraordinary grounds.

In any case, he argued, the conditions to share the live feed with the Prasar Bharati was part of the tender documents, and very much known to Nimbus Communications.

The reply filed by the Government to the petition by Nimbus challenging the Sports Broadcasting (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharti) Ordinance 2007 said it had been made clear to the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) that any party getting the rights to telecast the matches would have to share the live feed with Doordarshan and All India Radio, the application filed by the government in reply to the private channel contended.

Additional solicitor general PP Malhotra, appearing for the government, said the petition should be dismissed as it was not the fundamental right of Nimbus, who own Neo Sports channel to monopolise the telecast of cricket matches. In any case, Nimbus should abide by the contract it had signed in February 2006 to share the live feed.

Terming it as "bad in law", the petition had said, "The ordinance transgresses the constitutional limits and apart from violating the petitioner's fundamental rights, it also interferes with the power of the court to review the circular enforcing the private channels to share the feed."

On 23 January, in an interim order, the court had allowed Prasar Bharati to download the feed of Nimbus Communications and telecast the India-West Indies ODI series in a delayed transmission of seven minutes on DD and broadcast commentary live on AIR.

The High Court has decided to merge the hearing of the appeal by Prasar Bharati against this order, and the petition by Nimbus challenging the Ordinance.

 

 

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