Entitled to deal with rights independently: BCCI

Published: Wednesday, February 16, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Chennai:The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday told the Madras High Court that it cannot be compelled to have dealingswith anyone in connection with telecasting of cricket matchesin the country.

In a counter affidavit, in response to a writ petition filed by Zee telefilms, challenging termination of a tender for telecasting cricket matches, BCCI contended that being the owner of the rights to telecast cricket matches in the country, it was entitled to deal with its rights independently.

In September last, the Board had terminated the tender process for telecasting cricket matches to be played in the country from October 1, 2004 to September 30, 2008.

Zee, the highest bidder with $308 million, had furnished an advance of $20 million as stipulated by the Board. The amount was, however, returned after the BCCI marketing committee terminated the tender process on September21 last year.

The Board said the process was terminated taking into account an observation by the Mumbai High Court on a petition filed by Zee telefilms. The cancellation was enforced by virtue of the right retained by the Board in the invitation calling for the tenders, the Board said, and added the decision was communicated to all bidders.

On February 9, when Zee's petition came up in the high court, Justice K P Sivasubramanian adjourned the hearing to February 17 after the BCCI had given an undertaking that it would not finalise any tender or contract till that date (Feb 17) for telecasting of cricket matches in the country. The long awaited Indo-Pak Test and One-day series, after a gap of six years, will start with the warm up matches later this month.

The Board said once the decision to terminate the tender process was executed and duly approved by the marketing committee at Kolkata on September 28 last year, "the purported relief cannot be implemented or enforced in the eye of law."

The affidavit asserted that petitions pertaining to such contracts cannot be filed under Article 226 of the constitution. It contended that the petitioner's claim that the Board had committed breach relating or arising out of thetender process or grant of any rights cannot be a proceeding under Article 226.

The Board denied that rejection of the entire tender process was arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the constitution as alleged by the petitioner.

"The Board's decision is not subject to judicial review," the counter claimed. The Board prayed for the dismissal of the petition with exemplary costs.

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