New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court has sought an explanation from the Centre on its policy for declaring a cricket test match as a sporting event of public interest before broadcasting it on Doordarshan.
"We want to know, do you have any norms to decide or it is to be decided on case to case basis. What are the guidelines on the basis of which it is to be decided whether it is of high public interest or not," a Bench of Justices T S Thakur and Veena Birbal said.
"How do you decide whether a test match is of public interest or not. If the government fails to explain it then the impression would go that classification has been done on extraneous reasons," the Bench said, while directing the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to file its reply by January 8.
The Bench was hearing a PIL filed by a cricket buff, Ravi Dev Gupta, challenging the government's decision refusing to place all the test matches at par with One-Day and Twenty20 matches as sporting events of public interest and ensure telecast of all test matches on DD.
The Centre, through its notification issued on October 3 had declared that like One-Day and Twenty20 matches, all test matches were not of high public interest and the public broadcaster was not bound to telecast all test matches.
The Bench after hearing the petitioner's contentions sought to know the basis on which government would decide the importance of a particular test match.
The Bench also turned down the Government counsel's submission to dismiss the PIL and said, "Exercise of discretion (by the government) is open to judicial scrutiny so that it should not be arbitrary".
Centre asked to clarify guidelines on cricket telecast
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has directed the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry to inform it if there are guidelines for declaring cricket matches sporting events of public interest for telecast on Doordarshan.
A Division Bench, comprising Justices T.S. Thakur and Veena Birbal passed the direction on a petition by Ravi Dev Gupta, seeking a direction to the Ministry to treat all Test matches on a par with One-Day International and Twenty-Twenty matches as sporting events of public interest and ensure their telecast on Doordarshan.
The government, in October, notified that all Test matches were not of great public interest and Doordarshan was, therefore, not bound to telecast them.
The notification, however, said all one-day and Twenty-Twenty matches deserved to be telecast on Doordarshan as they were of great public interest.
The telecast of Test matches was decided on a case-to-case basis, the notification said.
Asking the Ministry to file its clarifications to the Court’s query by January 8, the Bench wanted to know how the Ministry decided that a particular Test match was of public interest and deserved to be telecast.
There must be some guidelines for arriving at a decision on declaring a particular match of public interest. Otherwise, the message would go that the decision was taken arbitrarily and on extraneous grounds, the Bench said.
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