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Nimbus drives to High Court

Nimbus challenges the ordinance that makes it mandatory for it to share live feed of cricket matches with Prasar Bharati.

india Updated: Feb 10, 2007 03:23 IST

Even as it faces action by the government for violation of the Sports Broadcast Signal Ordinance, Nimbus Communications went to the Delhi High Court to challenge the ordinance, which makes it mandatory for private broadcasters to share live feed of cricket matches with Prasar Bharati.

Nimbus provided a seven-minute-delayed feed of the Kolkata ODI to Doordarshan, which according to Prasar Bharati is a violation of the ordinance. The channel can be banned and may have to pay a fine of Rs 1 crore.

The Nimbus petition seeks quashing of the ordinance on the ground that it cannot be applied to matches played outside India as it has no jurisdiction to control the signals. However, Justice BD Ahmed refused to issue conditional stay on the execution of the ordinance.

The Nimbus counsel Harish Salve submitted that the signals of the free-to-air telecast of Doordarshan could be downloaded by the neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, whole of Southeast Asia and West Asia, causing irreparable loss to the private channel.

Meanwhile, an I&B ministry official said action will be taken against Nimbus as per the clauses of the ordinance.

“We will soon issue a show-cause notice. But before that, we want to wait for the court’s verdict on the Nimbus-DD case,” he told HT.

PB had on Thursday lodged a complaint with the ministry against Nimbus, saying that Neo Sports had violated the ordinance.

Earlier, ministry officials had threatened action against Nimbus if ‘live superior quality feed’ was not shared with DD.

Nimbus, on its part, stuck to its earlier stand that they would abide by the court’s verdict. Harish Thiwani, the Nimbus chairperson, said the question of action against them does not arise as they are “following court orders”.

“Whether it is an ordinance or the guidelines, the final word is of the court of law. We will abide by the court’s verdict,” he said.

Nimbus’ objection is against the stipulation in the ordinance that it will have to share live feed with DD even for cable homes and on DD’s DTH service.

First Published: Feb 10, 2007 01:27 IST