The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to interfere with the Indian Hockey Federation's (IHF) agreement with Neo Sports channel-owner Nimbus Sports for holding an IPL-style hockey tournament.
Justice Vipin Sanghi refused to interfere with the IHF’s deal with Nimbus Sports, dismissing a petition by Premier Hockey Development Pvt Ltd (PHD), challenging the deal.
While dismissing the petition, Justice Sanghi also held the PHD guilty of suppressing facts relevant to the case and slapped a cost of Rs one lakh on it.
PHD had been created as per a 2004 agreement between IHF and ESPN Star Sports (with two bodies respectively holding 51 % and 49 % stakes in it) to hold annual Hockey Premier League for 10 years but the event was organized from 2005 to 2008 only.
IHF then signed a deal with Nimbus Sports in December 2010, for organising a similar tournament for 15 years, which was challenged by ESPN. And the PDH had gone to the High Court challenging this deal.
All’s not well
While dismissing the PDH's plea, the court held that on first hand the resolution to file the petition passed by PHD is “unauthorised and without proper authority” as all board members were not present and did not vote for it.
“Quorum prescribed by agreements was not complete as there was no director nominated by IHF present and voting... The petition has not been instituted by the PDH by validly passing board resolution and is unauthorised and without proper authority,” the court said.
The bench also rejected ESPN's contention that IHF was de-recognised by IOA and, therefore, was not in a position to fulfill its obligations.
“Even after the IOA suspended the IHF governing council, it did not cease to exist. It is a registered society having its own juristic identity,” Justice Sanghi said.