CompAT set aside CCI order as informant not questioned rules of APFCC

Competition Commission of India (CCI) had imposed a penalty of Rs.12.89 lacs on Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce (APFCC) for restricting exhibition of film produced by particular producer, for forcing its member to abide by its unfair rules and dictates.
Rules 4(ii)(j) and 52(a)(ii) read with Rule 52(b) framed by APFCC were found by CCI in violation of Section 3 of the Competition Act 2002 as they limit and restrict the producers for three years from the date of obtaining Censor Certificate to distribute movies to TV channels and electronic media to telecast.

Competition Appellate Tribunal (CompAT), in want of material evidence, set aside an order by the CCI.
CompAT was of the view that the exercise undertaken by the DG to go into the validity of Rules 4(ii)(j) and 52(a) and (b) was per se without jurisdiction because the informant had not questioned the rules on the ground that the same are anti-competitive and thus ultra vires the provisions of the Competition Act.

Further, according to CompAT, there was no evidence produced by the informant to prove that APFCC had prevented or obstructed the release of film ‘Mausam’ on the scheduled date. CompAT observed that CCI which was expected to objectively and independently analyse the facts and evidence collected by the DG during the course of investigation abdicated its duty and mechanically approved the findings recorded by the DG. It set aside the CCI order as it was found to be based on assumptions and not on evidences.

Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce v. Cinergy Independent Film Service, [2015] Comp AT 719, decided on 14th October 2015