Thatscricket - ODI Series - India~~s tour of Pakistan- Telecast in peril as Ten Sports moves SC

Published: Tuesday, March 30, 2004, 0:33 [IST]
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New Delhi:Ten Sports on Friday filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the Chennai High Court order directing it to share the telecast of the India-Pakistan Cricket series with Doordarshan.

Meanwhile, the Delhi high court, in an interim order, has restrained cable operators throughout the country from telecasting the forthcoming cricket series between India and Pakistan without authorisation from the owners and distributors of Ten Sports channel in India.

With these two developments the telecast of the cricket matches seems to be in peril.

The petition filed by Ten Sports sought stay of the High Court order delivered on Friday directing the Dubai-based Sports TV channel, having exclusive rights over the telecast of the cricket series, to permit Doordarshan to telecast the Indo-Pak series, commencing in Karachi on Saturday.

Counsel for Ten Sports, P H Parekh said that he is going to mention the matter before the Chief Justice on Friday itself for urgent hearing on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Union Government has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court to prevent the foreign sports channel from obtaining any ex-parte order against the directive of the Madras high court.

The Ten Sports in its Special Leave Petition (SLP) before the Supreme Court assailed the High Court order on the ground that the directive to share the telecast rights with Doordarshan tantamounts to 'its exclusive property rights being acquired by another through a PIL.'

The Dubai-based channel said that it had bought the exclusive rights of telecast of the series through global bidding in 2002 and had no agreement with Doordarshan for sharing the same.

It said that the High Court order was 'totally without jurisdiction and is violative of its rights.'

Meanwhile, Justice R C Chopra of the Delhi High Court in an ex-parte order on Thursday said 'all those known or unknown cable operators, who transmit the forthcoming Indo-Pak cricket series commencing March 13, without authorisation from plaintiffs (owners and distributors of TEN Sports Channel), are restrained from transmitting the same to their cable network or another means.'

The court has also appointed local commissioners to search the premises of unauthorised cable operators and prepare inventory of the equipment, wires etc used for telecasting the Ten Sports channel.

The court also directed the police within their respective jurisdiction to render all assistance to local commissioners, who may take photographs or video films to show the manner and mode in which the channel was being broadcast unauthorisedly by cable operators.

Ten Sports and its sub-distributor in India, HMA Udyog Pvt Ltd, had approached the court seeking to restrain 36 known and several unknown cable operators from unauthorisedly telecasting the channel during the cricket series.

Senior advocate V P Singh and Pravin Anand, appearing for the Ten Sports, had submitted that the channel would take appropriate steps in respect of licenced cable operators if they were not making payments under the contract or showing channel to more subscribers than authorised number.

On the issue of unknown cable operators, the court said a prohibitory order is passed against them and as soon as they are identified the order would be served upon them.

"The court is of the considered view that instead of issuing orders against the non-existing persons or a fictitious person, orders can be moulded and designed to control such unknown and unauthorised persons through prohibitory orders which may become effective as soon as their identity is discovered by the plaintiffs and the orders are served upon them with the help of local commissioners,'" the judge said.

The Chennai High Court earlier on Friday had directed Ten Sports TV channel to permit Doordarshan to telecast the India-Pakistan cricket series commencing on Saturday, which the channel said it would do.

A division bench of the High Court, comprising Chief Justice B Subhashan Reddy and Justice M Thanikachalam, gave the order while hearing a petition seeking a direction to TRAI to secure the telecast rights from the private Ten Sports for Prasar Bharati.

The Bench also directed Doordarshan to use the logo of Ten Sports and carry their commercials in all the telecasts.

However, pertaining to the amount to be deposited by Doordarshan, the Bench had said the amount and the liability to be paid by whosoever it may be shall be worked out in course of time and will be decided during the final hearing of the writ petition.

Senior counsel and former Attorney General K Parasaran had told the court that his client, Ten Sports, would adhere to the directions of the court.

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