Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking e-auction of media rights for Indian Premier League (IPL) matches.

The auction process for IPL media rights is scheduled to begin on 17 August and the rights would operate for a period of five years.

The matter was brought before a bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar, who said that it would be taken up at a later date.

Currently, IPL’s TV broadcast rights are held by Sony Pictures Networks Pvt. Ltd, which will expire in 2017 with IPL’s 10th edition. The Internet and mobile rights, however, were awarded to Novi Digital Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, a unit of Star India, for a period of three years to 2017.

The ninth and 10th editions of the IPL in 2016 and 2017, respectively, are the last two seasons before the current broadcasting rights expire.

An e-auction was sought so that the process could be made more transparent.

Singapore-based World Sport Group bagged the IPL broadcasting rights for 10 years in 2008 by spending USD 918 million. A year later, the contract was replaced when Sony Group (through Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd) paid USD 1.63 billion for the nine-year broadcasting rights.

The auction process was delayed last year on the apex court’s directive to comply with the Lodha panel reforms first.

In 2013, the apex court had set up a three-member committee headed by Lodha to clean up the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after allegations of spot fixing in the IPL surfaced.

The committee recommended several sweeping changes in the BCCI, including a “one state, one vote” formula, that seeks to prevent states with multiple cricket associations from casting more than one vote, an age cap for office-bearers, and a ban on civil servants being part of the board, which has seen stiff resistance from the cricketing body. - Livemint