Millions of cricket lovers can rejoice as the Delhi high court, on Tuesday, directed public broadcaster Prasar Bharti to show live telecast of India-West Indies cricket series on DD, but deferred by seven minutes from that being shown on rights holder Nimbus.
The court passed the interim order on a petition filed by Nimbus Communication Ltd, suggesting deferred telecast as an interim arrangement to end the fighting between the two broadcasters which had deprived millions of non-cable viewers of the match action.
"I am of the view that it would be delayed telecast of seven minutes, which is the minimal delay and would not affect the public in any way in watching cricket," Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said while passing the order, fixing February 8 as the next date of hearing.
This direction will ensure that the entire series, which ends on January 31, is telecast on DD as well.
In its petition, Nimbus - which bagged the four-year BCCI telecast rights last year for 612 million dollars - had challenged the Centre's uplinking guidelines that make it mandatory on private broadcasters to share the feed of sporting events of national interest with DD.
Appearing on behalf of Nimbus, senior advocate Harish Salve offered a proposal of two-over delayed telecast of the match, which Prasar Bharti refused to accept.
Salve, further contended that the guidelines "passed by the government without any authority of law" violated its intellectual property rights and tantamount to forceful acquisition of the rights.
Counsel Dushyant Dave, appearing for Prasar Bharti, contended the government's uplinking policy had been in operation for the last two years, pointing out that Nimbus had accepted it and agreed to share feed with DD during the India-England series in 2006.
Thus, its petition challenging the guidelines was not sustainable, Dave said.
"Airwaves and frequencies are public property which, should be controlled and regularised by a public authority which is Prasar Bharati," he said, citing a Supreme Court judgement.
Meanwhile, the court issued notices to Centre and Prasar Bharti, which was accepted by their counsels. The court directed them to file their replies by January 29 and asked Nimbus to file a rejoinder by February 1.