Millennium Post

Respond to Star Sports’ proposals on World Cup feed: SC to PB

Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Prasar Bharti to respond to suggestions of Star Sports, which holds exclusive telecast rights of the Cricket world cup, to ensure that Doordarshan (DD) channels do not share the live feed of matches with private cable operators.

A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and Pinaki Chandra Ghose, also extended till February 19 the stay on the operation of Delhi High Court verdict that had said that public broadcaster Prasar Bharti cannot share the live feed of matches with the private cable operators showing DD channels.

The court asked Star India Ltd to give details of quantum of losses which it may incur on account of
sharing of live feed of matches by Prasar Bharti to private cable operators. It also asked the public broadcaster to respond to the suggestion of senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for Star India Ltd, that a new channel can be started by Prasar Bharti, as was done for Commonwealth Games, for showing world cup matches to ensure that private cable operators do not get the live feed.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre and Prasar Bharti, said it is mandatory for a private channel under the Sports Act and the Cable TV Network Act to share the feeds of matches of “national importance” with Prasar Bharati for providing it on DD’s free-to-air terrestrial channels.

Citing legal provisions, Rohatgi said, “private cable operators are under an obligation to show some DD channels to their subscribers and it is not feasible to start a new chanel for showing few world cup matches. This is a proper case for grant of absolute stay.

This court had said that Cricket is like a religion in this country and millions of countrymen cannot be deprived from watching matches involving Indian team. The legal provisions are very clear and do not provide for the scope of any balancing. There is no scope of any interference,” the Attorney
General said.
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