The telecast-rights controversy May 14, 2005

Supreme Court rejects Zee's petition

Cricinfo staff

Jagmohan Dalmiya: plenty of reasons to smile after the Supreme Court verdict © Getty Images
In a decision which vindicates the BCCI's stand on the issue, the Supreme Court has dismissed Zee Telefilms' plea to grant it the telecast rights for all international cricket in India till 2008. In a judgement passed on Friday (May 13), the court upheld the verdict passed by the Madras High Court bench on May 2, which had said that the Indian board was justified in cancelling its tender process last year after Zee had emerged as the highest bidder.

Reacting to the verdict, Jagmohan Dalmiya, the former president of the BCCI, told The Asian Age: "This is a great boost for us and proves that there was nothing wrong with the tender process, as Zee has been alleging. The BCCI's functioning has been above board in this matter, and hats off to the judiciary for recognising it. The cancellation was not improper."

Looking ahead to the future course of action, Ushanath Bannerjee, the board's counsel, told the daily: "Now the BCCI will meet to decide the whether to call for another tender. Plans are also afoot for the BCCI television channel, but since there's nothing concrete yet, it's all up to the board to decide what to do next."

Zee had challenged the board's decision to cancel the tender process last year, claiming that they had been unfairly denied the telecast rights despite having bid the highest amount. A single judge of the Madras High Court had then ruled in favour of Zee, asking the BCCI to call for fresh tenders, but that verdict was set aside by a division bench of the court. The latest ruling effectively means that Zee's only remaining option in the matter is to move a civil court to seek damages.