IPL media rights: Supreme Court seeks response from BCCI in two weeks
The Supreme Court bench asked BCCI to file its reply within two weeks and posted the matter of IPL media rights for further hearing on August 22 before the tender process concludescricket Updated: Jul 28, 2017 23:38 IST
The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of BCCI on a plea of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking e-auctioning of media rights of cash-rich T-20 Indian Premier League.
The apex court bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar asked the cricket board to file its reply within two weeks and posted the matter for further hearing on August 22 before the tender process concludes.
Swamy said that e-auction of the media rights should be done to ensure transparency, as it is to be given for the next five years.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Chief Eexecutive Officer (CEO) of the board, said that the tender process has been approved by the Vinod Rai, chairman of the apex court-appointed Committee of Administrators (COA).
Citing an earlier SC judgement, he said it had held that auction was not the only mode of bidding.
“No, that judgement is altogether in a different background,” the bench said, and asked the cricket board to file its reply within one week.
It also asked senior advocate Parag Tripathi, appearing for (CoA) in the main BCCI matter pending before the court, to assist it in the case.
Singhvi said the e-auction process was not possible as the auction process has already started and will conclude next month. He said the court should not interfere with the process.
The apex court had earlier this month told the BJP leader that it would think over his plea for according urgent hearing in the case.
Swamy had referred to the apex court verdicts to buttress his point that it has been held that auctioning is the best method of awarding contracts.
He had said that the amount involved in the award of IPL media rights was to the tune of Rs 30,000 crore and the issue should not be decided in an “opaque” manner.
“This petition prays that the distribution of IPL rights, which is scheduled on July 17, 2017 should be done in the most transparent mode available that is via E-Auction,” his petition said.
It said that all the activities of Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) are undertaken with “tacit” concurrence of the state governments and the Centre “who are not only fully aware but supportive of the activities of the Board.”
“It is a requirement that non-discriminatory and transparent method with the best international practices must be adopted for distribution of the valuable media rights so as to ensure the maximum revenue in the larger national interest,” Swamy’s plea said.
He alleged that there was a consistent attempt by vested interests to try and build a monopoly by getting the valuable rights in a non-transparent manner.
“Huge money is involved amounting to Rs. 25000-30000 crore in the valuable rights associated with the game of cricket in India which makes it mandatory to have the auction process robust, completely transparent, in order to maximise revenue and prevent vested interests from making undue gains,” Swamy said.
Referring to Justice R M Lodha committee recommendations, the plea said the panel made strong comments about the BCCI’s tender process and the methods previously adopted by cricket administrators in granting licences in relation to media and television rights.
“No standard norms and objective criteria or procedures have been established for the distribution of the valuable rights associated with the game of cricket and selection or engagement of the rights holders.
“Lodha Committee has found that clear principles of transparency should be laid down, and BCCI’s website and office should carry all rules, regulations and office orders of the BCCI in this regard, and there should be full transparency of all tenders floated and bids invited by or on behalf of the BCCI,” it said.