ZEE can sue BCCI for cricket rights row

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In what could be termed a moral victory for ZEE Telefilms, the Madras high court today ruled that the cancellation of the tender order by the Indian cricket board for telecast rights was “improper.”

The court, while refusing to grant any pecuniary relief to the petitioner, however, said that ZEE Telefilms could sue the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for damages.

Disposing off a petition filed by ZEE against the Indian cricket board cancelling a tender process for telecasting rights for the period October 1, 2004 to September 30, 2008, Justice KP Sivasubramaniam directed that fresh tender be initiated for telecast rights for matches in the country after the on-going India-Pakistan series, a Press Trust of India report from Chennai stated.

ZEE Telefilms had move the Madras HC a few months back after the Supreme Court dealt it a body blow saying BCCI could not declared a `state’ as per Article 13 and 36 of the Constitution and, hence, could not be sued for damages. Still, the apex court had added the Board’s action could be challenged under other Articles of the Constitution in some lower court.

Reacting to this development, a ZEE Telefilms spokesperson Ashish Kaul said, “The court judgement is a clear reflection of our belief that BCCI was biased against ZEE Telefilms. Now, the whole world knows that BCCI is marred with mismanagement.”

On being asked by indiantelevision.com whether ZEE would seek damages, Kaul added, “Yes, we can now sue the BCCI for damages and are presently discussing the development with our management and legal advisors”

BCCI could not be contacted for comments till the time of writing this report. Though ZEE was officially mum on it, court sources told indiantelevision.com that in its affidavit, the petitioner had sought financial relief of about Rs. 2 billion owing to BCCI canceling the tender process, which had seen ZEE Telefilms emerge the highest bidder with a quote of $ 308 million for four years of Indian cricket from 2004.

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