At a time when linguistic jingoism is on the rise, the Supreme Court in a significant ruling said anyone attempting to stall exhibition of dubbed films or dubbed serials in the name of protecting a language would be guilty of violating the Competition Act, 2002.
The bone of contention before the SC was the telecast of TV serial 'Mahabharat" dubbed from Hindi to Bengali on different TV channels of Bengal.
This was unpalatable to the Eastern India Motion Picture Association (EIMPA) and the Coordination Committee of Artists and Technicians of West Bengal Film and Television Investors.
EIMPA and the Coordination Committee felt telecast of serials produced in other languages but dubbed in Bengali would adversely affect producers, artists and technicians in Bengal. They apprehended that it would deter production of such serials in Bengali.
Both wrote letters to channels asking them to stop telecast of 'Mahabharat' dubbed in Bengali citing "interest of healthy growth of film and TV industry in Bengal".
They reminded channel owners of a 13-year-long convention in Bengal not to telecast any serial produced in another language and dubbed in Bengali.
The threat was also extended to two TV channels that if the telecast was not stopped, their channels would face non-cooperation from EIMPA and the Coordination Committee. Telecast of the serial was stopped after a few episodes.
The Competition Commission of India, on a complaint by the owner of one of the channels, found the threat anti-competitive.
However, the Competition Appellate Tribunalheld that the threat did not throttle competition. The CCI moved the SC against the tribunal's decision.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and A M Sapre agreed with the CCI and said that the boycott threat aimed to prevent the two channels from pursuing their legitimate commercial activities. - TOI