Ten Sports, which has exclusive rights to telecast the upcoming India-West Indies cricket series, today moved the Supreme Court seeking to restrain Prasar Bharati from downlinking the live feed of the matches.
The matter will come up for hearing on Tuesday. The Dubai-based sports channel has declined to provide the link without payment.
Ten Sports filed an application contending that if the Test-matches and One-Day International series were broadcast simultaneously on Doordarshan, it would suffer a huge loss. It said it had already sold the distribution right to Discovery Pvt Ltd, which will have the right to license throughout the country.
The channel said if interim relief was not granted, the order of the court delivered before the recent Indo-Pak series would become infructuous.
Taj Television Ltd, owner of Ten Sports, had filed the petition seeking stay of the government guidelines that made it mandatory for sports channels to share broadcast of sporting events of national importance with Prasar Bharati.
The court had allowed live telecast of Indo-Pak one day internationals on Doordarshan after an agreement was reached between Ten Sports and Prasar Bharati that the latter would deposit in court, a sum of Rs 15 crore.
During a brief hearing, the bench observed that the last time it was a series with Pakistan and that “matches of an Indo-Pak series are different from the others”. “For the West-Indies many people may not be interested,” it said.
Ten Sports has challenged the validity and legality of the downlinking guidelines terming them as arbitrary and without the authority of law. It had challenged the Bombay High Court order of December 21, 2005 that refused the channel any relief.
Later, the matter pending before the High Court was transferred to the apex court. Government guidelines state that sports channels will share their feed with Prasar Bharati for “national and international sporting events of national importance” in India or abroad.