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Supreme Court upholds appeal against committee of West Bengal television producers

In a March 7 2017 judgment, the Supreme Court set aside an order of the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) and held that the prohibition on a dubbed television series violated Section 3(3)(b) of the Competition Act.(1) The court upheld the original Competition Commission of India (CCI) majority order, which had been set aside by the April 2 2014 COMPAT order.

Facts

The information before the CCI was filed by Sajjan Kumar Khaitan, proprietor of M/s Hart Video, Kolkata, which distributed regional television series for broadcasting in East India, including West Bengal. Hart Video had dubbed the television series Mahabharata in Bengali, with intent to distribute this for broadcast in West Bengal through channels CTVN+ and Channel 10. However, various East India television producers – under the Eastern India Motion Picture Association (EIMPA) and the Committee of Artists and Technicians of West Bengal Film and Television Investors – opposed the broadcast, claiming that entry into the market of series produced in other languages and dubbed for release to the public in their own language may deter production of such series in Bengali. Both the EIMPA and the committee wrote letters to CTVN+ to stop the broadcast of the dubbed series, and warned CTVN+ and Channel 10 that if broadcasting did not stop, they would face non-cooperation from the two groups.

Khaitan filed this information with the CCI, which referred the matter to its director general for investigation.

CCI decision

During investigation, the director general defined the relevant market as the “film and television industry of West Bengal”. Further, the director general found that the conduct of the committee and the EIMPA in threatening non-cooperation, holding demonstrations and organising strike action – which stopped Channel 10’s broadcast of the series (although CTVN+ continued to show it)

Article source: http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=3f924e39-80da-49f2-8695-a6322cc3d2e7

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