New Delhi | The Centre today told the Supreme Court that it was almost impossible for the national public broadcaster, Doordarshan, and the Union government to run a new separate channel exclusively to broadcast 2015 cricket world cup matches.
Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Prasar Bharti, told a division bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Prafulla C Pant, that they were not in a position to launch a new separate channel as they had limited number of transmitters.
After hearing Mr Rohatgi, and P Chidambaram, counsel for Star India, the Supreme Court reserved its verdict on Prasar Bharti’s plea against the Delhi High Court order barring Doordarshan, the public broadcaster, from sharing live feed of the 2015 cricket world cup matches with private cable operators.
Mr Rohatgi submitted that the Doordarshan has around 1,400 transmitters across the country to cater to the entire population of India.
Most of these transmitters were unmanned and located in remote corners of the country. So it is not feasible for them to create a separate channel, he added. The Attorney General dismissed the suggestion of Star India to start a separate channel, saying ‘law is for public good’ and this was a dispute between Star India and cable operators.
Why should the people suffer? Everybody should get the opportunity to watch the matches, he added.
Mr Chidambaram said a similar situation had arisen at the time of Commonwealth Games in 2010. If at that time a separate channel was created in six days, then why can’t it be done now, he said. The live feed of the matches are provided to cable operators by Entertainment in Sports Programming Network (ESPN) and Star TV which hold exclusive telecasting rights for the cricket World Cup.
The Delhi High Court in February first week had barred Doordarshan from sharing the live feed.
The order was passed by the Delhi High Court on the plea of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, ESPN and Star who had contended that cable TV operators were getting live feeds through DD channels free of cost, resulting in loss of revenue for them. Against the High Court order, the Doordarshan had moved the apex court.
The 11th cricket world cup, 2015, is jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29.
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