New Delhi: Cricket fans across the country will continue to be able to watch all India-centric matches of the ongoing World Cup — as also the semifinals and final — on public broadcaster Doordarshan, the Supreme Court said Friday.
The Supreme Court stayed Delhi High Court’s order restraining Doordarshan from carrying the live feed of matches provided to it by the Star TV. Doordarshan’s match coverage is routed through cable networks.
Continuing the stay of the Delhi High Court verdict, the apex court bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Prafulla C. Pant, in its order, said: “We are of the view that the interim order, passed earlier to the effect that the impugned order dated 04.02.2015 of the High Court shall remain suspended, should continue until further orders.”
Two suggestions by Star TV asking Prasar Bharti to set up a new channel to carry the live feed of the World Cup cricket matches or alternately carry a scroll saying that telecast of the matches was only for Doordarshan, did not find favour with the court.
The apex court by its Feb 10 interim order had stayed the operation of the Delhi High Court order.
SC noted that formation of a new or alternate channel by Doordarshan to beam World Cup matches as suggested by the Star TV was “unviable and technically unfeasible within any reasonable period of time”.
The court declined to consider Star TV’s offer of extending its expertise and personnel to aid Prasar Bharati in setting up a new channel.
“We are not inclined to consider the said offer made on behalf of Star TV,” the court said, adding: “The first suggestion put forward, therefore, does not merit acceptance.”
“Acceptance of the said suggestion would be understanding the provisions of Section 3 of the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007 and Section 8 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 in a particular manner which is not warranted at this stage of the proceedings” the court said in its order.
The court order came on an appeal by the central government and public broadcaster Prasar Bharati challenging the Feb 4 verdict of the Delhi High court.
The Centre and Prasar Bharti had moved the apex court Feb 9 challenging the Feb 4 Delhi High Court order by which Doordarshan was barred from sharing with cable operators the live feed provided to it by the ESPN and Star, which holds exclusive telecasting rights for the World Cup.
The Delhi High Court had passed the order on the plea of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), ESPN and Star who said that cable TV operators were getting live feeds through DD channels free of cost, resulting in loss of revenue for them.