Public broadcaster Prasar Bharti today told the Supreme Court that it was not feasible for the government and the public broadcaster to run a new channel for exclusive broadcast of World Cup matches.
Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Prasar Bharti, told the apex court that they were not in a position to create a separate channel as they had limited number of transmitters.
After hearing Rohatgi, the bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Prafulla C Pant reserved its verdict on Prasar Bharti’s plea against the Delhi High Court order barring Doordarshan from sharing live feed of the World Cup cricket matches with private cable operators.
The AG told the bench that the public broadcaster has around 1400 transmitters across the country to cater to the entire population of India.
“Most of these transmitters were unmanned and located in remote corners of the country. So it is not feasible for them to create a separate channel,” Rohatgi said.
He rejected the suggestion mooted by Star India to start a separate channel, saying “law is for public good” and this was a dispute between Star India and cable operators.
“Why should the people suffer? Everybody should get the opportunity to watch the matches,” he said.
Senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for Star India, said a similar situation had arisen at the time of Commonwealth Games in 2010.
“If at that time a separate channel was created in six days, then why can’t it be done now,” he said.
“We can provide them the necessary help to create a separate channel and provide them technical assistance as well,” he added.
Chidambaram further said the new channel can be carried out on the same frequency as that of Doordarshan with no additional cost involved.
He said the nine-ten matches which are yet to be telecast would attract nearly 70 per cent of viewership, as per TAM report.