Despite rallying its lawyers such as former cabinet ministers P. Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal, little did Star TV could do to deprive the government-owned broadcaster Prasar Bharati from beaming the World Cup cricket matches live on its channels.
However, the Supreme Court on Tuesday extended its interim order for telecast of the matches on the channel but asked Prasar Bharati to respond to Star TV’s suggestion to create a separate channel to carry the live feed of cricket matches provided by it.
The Supre Court earlier stayed the Delhi High Court order that barred Doordarshan from sharing the live feed of the Cup matches with the cable operators, provided to it by Star TV, on February 10.
The apex court bench, headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi, will take up next hearing on Thursday but asked Star India to indicate the quantum of advertisement revenue it was losing on account of Doordarshan relaying its live feed on the Cup matches through cable operators.
“We have suffered financially. We will lose money,” defended P. chidambaram on behalf of his client in the last hearing, of Doordarshan routes its live feed with cable operators.
The Star TV has got the exclusive telecasting rights for six years from 2012 to 2018 by paying Rs.3,851 crore and in the last three years it has not got any returns on its investment, he argued.
“Should not the balance of equity be in our favour” after Star has succeeded in the High Court and yet “We don’t get anything”, Chidambaram told the court.
The petition by the Centre and Prasar Bharati filed by advocates Rajeev Sharma and Shahil Bhalik said that under the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007 it is incumbent upon the holders of the telecasting rights of the sporting events of national importance to share the live feed (of sporting event) with Prasar Bharati.
Prasar Bharati would carry this live feed on its terrestrial channels DD National and DD News and Direct to Home service, it said earlier.
Further, under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, it is mandatory for the cable operators to carry DD National and DD News.
The petition by the Prasar Bharati and the Centre said that High Court order asking the public broadcaster not to carry the live feed of cricket matches received by it on DD National and DD News would result in denied access of a sporting event of national importance to millions of people.