Upholding Prasar Bharati’s view, the Delhi High Court on Thursday held that whosoever airs a live television broadcast of sporting events of national importance must share the same with national broadcaster without any commercials.
A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog made the observations while dismissing a TV channel’s plea seeking a direction to Prasar Bharati not to insist on the live signal of international cricket matches of India without any commercial.
”.... Whosoever airs a live television broadcast of sporting events of national importance must share the same without any advertisements inserted with Prasar Bharati.
“We find no merit in the writ petition which we dismiss but without any order as to costs...,” the bench said while rejecting the plea of ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd.
On April 6, in a communication to ESPN, Prasar Bharati had said “it is not in a position to share the live signals which are not clean” and insisted that the channel provide the feed of the matches without any commercials.
Filing a petition before the High Court, ESPN had claimed to be the exclusive distributor of cricket matches of national importance and 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.
Seeking the court’s intervention, the channel had 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 tournaments”.