Madras High Court stays order on tender cancellation

Published: Sunday, April 3, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Chennai:The Madras High Court today (April 4, 2005) stayed an order holding that termination of tender proceedings for telecasting international cricket matches by the Board of Control fore Cricket in India (BCCI) was 'improper' and indicting former Board chief Jagmohan Dalmiya, while Zee Telefilms filed an appeal in the court challenging the order.

On March 21 justice K P Sivasubramanian giving his ruling on a petition by Zee, challenging the termination of the tender proceedings, had held that the BCCI action was "unjust, illegal and the result of bias against the petitioner (Zee telefilms)". The Judge had come down heavily on Dalmiya forthe tender proceedings being cut short.

Justice Sivasubramanian had said that after the conclusion of the India-Pakistan home cricket series the BCCI could call for fresh tenders for telecast of international cricket matches in the country.

Granting the interim stay, effective till April 20, on appeals filed by the BCCI and Dalmiya challenging the single judge's order, a division bench, comprising chief justice Markandey Katju and justice F M Ibrahim Kallifulla, issued notice to Zee and ESPN returnable on that day.

In its appeal, Zee sought a stay on the single judge's order permitting the Board to call for fresh tenders for telecasting cricket matches in the country till September 30, 2008 after the conclusion of India Pakistan series.

Zee contended that if it finally succeeded in its appeal and got the consequential relief it was entitled to, it would suffer grave and irreparable loss and prejudice if theretender was held.

Pointing out that during the pendency of its writ petition in the High Court the BCCI had given an undertaking that it would not finalise telecasting right with a third party, Zee contended that the single judge in his order, while disposing of its petition, had left it to the Board to call for fresh tenders after the conclusion of the India-Pakistan series.

In their separate appeals against the single judge's order, Dalmiya and the BCCI contended that the judge had erred in making certain observations with regard to the alleged conduct of the former Board president.

The observation involved grave consequences and accused Dalmiya of wrongful conduct merely on the basis of the affidavit filed by Zee Telefilms Ltd that had challenged the termination of the tender process in the High Court, the appeals said.

They said the Judge could have dismissed Zee's petition on the basis of the channel's admission that it neither had the production unit nor the requisite experience of producing international cricket matches on its own.

The appeals termed as wholly erroneous and imaginative the conclusion of the judge that Dalmiya wanted ESPN to walkover Zee, the highest bidder, in a clandestine manner and that members of a select committee had politely recorded their dissent.

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