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Ten Sports told to give live feed to DD

Last updated on: March 17, 2004 13:18 IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed Ten Sports to provide live telecast feed of cricket matches between India and Pakistan to Doordarshan and directed the national channel to deposit Rs 50 crore (Rs 500 million) with the court for assessment of damages later on.

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The court fixed final hearing of the matter on April 15 and restrained Doordarshan from putting its live telecast feed footprints on Middle East.

The court directed Doordarshan to deposit Rs 40 crore (Rs 400 million), in addition to Rs 10 crore (Rs 100 million) already deposited by it, within a week.

The bench headed by Chief Justice V N Khare passed this order as Ten Sports refused to negotiate any settlement on the impasse pertaining to sharing its exclusive rights on the telecast of Indo-Pak cricket series.

The court directed Doordarshan to show Ten Sports' telecast feed half-an-hour before the commencement of the match, during the match and 30 minutes after the end of the match.

The court also directed that during this period of telecast, Doordarshan would not have any right to insert its advertisements.

The Ten Sports accused the government of not attempting to find a solution and charged that even Law Minister Arun Jaitley did not get back to its chief Abdul Rahman Bukhatir.

Calling the attempts made by the government "a humbug to misguide public", the counsel for the channel, Kapil Sibal said there cannot be any dilution of these exclusive rights.

Doordarshan on Wednesday reiterated its offer of $10 million saying Ten Sports had given simultaneous telecast rights to the Pakistani national channel for a small consideration of $0.5 million.

The court made it clear that it is not going to hear the case on merits today and asked both parties whether there was a possibility of arriving at a solution.

DD was in favour of a solution, including the proposal that it will telecast the entire feed of Ten Sports without inserting its own advertisements, in addition to paying a certain sum to the Dubai-based channel.

However, Ten Sports as well as Modi Entertainment Network, which is the exclusive distributor of Ten Sports' in India, said that there is no possibility of any settlement with Prasar Bharati on the question of simultaneous telecast.

Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, appearing for the government stated that the information and broadcasting ministry officials and the Doordarshan officials were ready and prepared to meet the Ten Sports channel officials at any time during the course of the day to thrash out the differences. But they accused the Ten Sports officials of not having any bonafide desire to settle the issue.

He said Ten Sports was allowing Pakistan TV to continue simultaneous telecast but imposing a different condition altogether when it was the turn of the Indian national channel.

When the judges asked Ten Sports and Modi Entertainment Network about the damages or losses suffered by them in the event of Doordarshan showing telecast of India-Pakistan matches, both parties replied in the negative saying the court cannot compute the future benefits that could accrue to them.

The bench said: "We are of the prima facie view that it is possible to calculate the losses and damages aspects and hence the matter could be heard on April 15 when the same will be calculated."

The Indian cricket board came under ire of the Supreme Court which said all this imbroglio on telecast would not have arisen if the BCCI had secured the rights of Indian citizen while fixing the fixture for the Indo-Pak series.

"Before fixing the fixture, our cricket board should have ensured that Doordarshan got the telecast rights for India. They should have negotiated this aspect with the Pakistan cricket board," it said.

The court asked Modi Entertainment Network to put on affidavit the terms and conditions of its agreement with Taj TV (India) Pvt. Ltd, which is the exclusive rights holder of marketing the telecast in India.

The Ten Sports today filed a contempt application against Doordarshan accusing it of violating the apex court orders not to show its own advertisements during the Rawalpinidi one-day international match.

The court issued notice to Doordarshan and the Centre on the allegation that the national channel showed its own programme during the lunch break aided with its advertisement content.

The court on March 15 had directed Ten Sports to give telecast feed to Doordarshan but restrained the national channel from inserting its own advertisement.

The court's direction that Doordarshan should deposit Rs 50 crore to avail live telecast feed from Ten Sports along with its advertisements came as it felt that Doordarshan at this later stage could not make commercial gains by making inroad into a foreign channel's exclusive telecast rights.

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