ICC Champions Trophy 2013: High Court asks Star Sports to share feed with Doordarshan

A high court in New Delhi directed ESPN to provide live signal of ICC Champions Trophy 2013 without any commericla to Doordarshan till any further order is given © Getty Images

New Delhi: Jun 5, 2013

A day before the commencement of the ICC Champions trophy 2013 in England, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed ESPN channel to provide live signal of the international cricket tournament to Doordarshan without any commercial till its further order.

The One-Day International (ODI) cricket tournament is scheduled to be held in England from June 6 to 23.

A vacation bench of justices Manmohan Singh and RV Easwar said in an interim order that “Till the next date, we direct that the petitioner (ESPN) shall provide live signals which would be clean without any commercial to Doordarshan so that Doordarshan would be able to telecast the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 as per commitment and object of the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act.”

The bench also said the pleadings in the matter are yet to be completed and “the interim application as well as the writ petition be listed before the roster bench on July 12.”

The bench was hearing a petition filed by the TV channel which sought a direction to Prasar Bharati not to insist on the live signal of the ICC Trophy without any commercial.

On Apri 6, in a communication to ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, Prasar Bharati had said “it is not in a position to share the live signals which are not clean” and insisted the channel provide the feed of the matches without any commercial.

Filing a petition before the high court, ESPN, which claimed to be the exclusive distributor of the ICC Champions trophy, said that earlier as a matter of practice it had offered the live signals of several matches with commercials as per the 2007 Sports Broadcasting Signals (mandatory sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act and relevant rules but this time the government channel has put a condition.

“Respondents (Prasar Bharati) step is incorrect and erroneous understanding of the mandate of the Act and rules framed therein and is also at complete variance with the past practice which has been in operation since 2007 when the Act came into operation”, the sports channel said in its plea.

Seeking the courts intervention, the channel said “refusal of the respondent to accept the feed has resulted in a stalemate or impasse which may deprive millions of viewers of watching the international cricket tournament of 2013.