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No relief for BCCI, Nimbus

November 16, 2007 18:21 IST

The Delhi high court on Friday refused to grant interim relief to the Board of Control for Cricket in India and sports broadcaster Nimbus Communication which challenged the Centre's policy directing private broadcasters to share the feed of cricket Test matches with Prasar Bharti.

The petitioners challenged Section 3 of the Sports Broadcasting Signal (Mandatory sharing of feed with Prasar Bharti) Act making it mandatory for the private broadcasters to share their feed with Prasar Bharti.

In light of the India-Pakistan Test series, which starts on November 22, senior advocate Ashok Desai, appearing for the petitioners, pleaded for interim relief by staying the operation of Section 3 of the Act.

He contended that the government policy as far as it applies to Test matches should be struck down as it is causing financial loss to broadcasters.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice M K Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Khanna, however, refused to grant any interim relief to them and posted the matter for further hearing on December 10.

The bench also directed the Centre and Prasar Bharti to file their response on the issue before the next date of hearing.

Nimbus is the official broadcaster of all cricket matches to be played in the country till 2010.

The BCCI and Nimbus also pointed out that there are many other sporting events in addition to cricket matches which are of national importance but the government is not focusing on them.

Vishwanathan Anand had done quite well in chess. Similarly, Indian players are performing well in international tournaments in football and tennis, but the government is not interested in those events because it is not profitable, the petition said.

The petitioners also challenged a single bench order which had dismissed their petition seeking encryption of the live feed of cricket matches to public broadcaster Prasar Bharati.

Dismissing their petition Justice S Ravinder Bhatt, on November 5 had said, "There is no legal provision under the Sports Act, Cable TV Network Act or the guidelines to direct for encryption of the live feed."

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