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No live telecast of Indo-Pak Test matches on DD; only highlights

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J. Venkatesan

New Delhi, Jan. 10

THERE will be no live telecast of Indo-Pakistan cricket Tests on Doordarshan but only 90-minute highlights. This follows the inability expressed by Prasar Bharti in the Supreme Court on Tuesday to compensate the loss likely to be incurred by Ten Sports for `simulcast' of the matches.

The Solicitor-General, Mr G.E. Vahanvati, told a Bench of Mr Justice Ashok Bhan and Mr Justice Tarun Chatterjee that Prasar Bharti would not be able to take the signals from Ten Sports along with the advertisements by making a substantial payment to Ten Sports for the live telecast. The Solicitor-General made it clear that it was enough if the court directed Ten Sports to make available to Doordarshan highlights of every day's play for a period of 90 minutes as offered by Ten Sports.

Mr Vahanvati also said the Government would not insist that Ten Sports complies with one of the guidelines making it mandatory for television channels to share the telecast with Doordarshan notwithstanding the existence of contracts already entered into between the parties.

In the light of this submission made by Mr Vahanvati, the Bench directed Ten Sports to make available the highlights of every day's play of the Test matches. The Bench, however, asked Ten Sports and Prasar Bharti to come out with some settlement so that viewers could at least watch the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) live.

Senior counsel Mr Harish Salve, appearing for Ten Sports, and Mr Vahanvati agreed to explore the possibility of working out a solution to ensure that ODIs are telecast live on Doordarshan.

The Bench asked the Union Government and Prasar Bharti to file their replies to the petition filed by Ten Sports by January 20 and rejoinder by January 27.

On Monday, the court had asked Mr Vahanvati to inform today whether Doordarshan was willing to share with Ten Sports feed of the series without any alteration including the advertisements after Mr Salve insisted on compensating for the loss to be suffered by Ten Sports. Mr Salve had said Ten Sports was prepared to share the signals provided Doordarshan telecast the matches with the advertisements

The Bench was hearing a special leave petition filed by Taj Television (India), owners of Ten Sports, against an order of the Bombay High Court admitting its petition challenging the revised guidelines on telecast of national events but refusing to grant interim relief.

Related Stories:
Cricket telecast: SC asks Prasar Bharati to file response

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 11, 2006)
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