NCLAT Affirms CCI Order against Association of Malayalam Movie Artists & Others Imposing Penalty for Anti-Competitive Agreement

On March 13, 2020, NCLAT dismissed an appeal filed by the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (‘AMMA’), Film Employees Federation of Kerala, FEFKA Director’s Union, FEFKA Production Executive’s Union (collectively ‘FEFKA’) and others, against a CCI order penalizing the above parties and their office bearers for contravention of Section 3 of the Act[1].

The information filed by Shri T.G. Vinayakumar (‘Shri T.G.’) before CCI pertained to alleged forceful boycott of his association by the opposite parties by reducing the strength of his association and forcing its members to split and form an alternative association i.e., FEFKA. Shri T.G. alleged that the opposite parties forced various actors, technicians, producers, financers, not to work or associate with Shri T.G. in his projects by imposing bans, which led to many artists, producers etc., leaving his projects.

Upon appeal, NCLAT assessed the following points of evidence relied on by CCI in its order –

i.      Minutes of executive and general meetings of AMMA which showed instructions by FEFKA to impose a ban on anyone working with Shri T.G.. This established the nexus between AMMA and FEFKA;

ii.     Statements of producers and actors who were forced to leave their project with Shri T.G. due to the ban imposed by the opposite parties. One producer submitted a letter sent to Shri T.G. at the time recording the reasons for cancelling the project;

iii.    Circular issued by FEFKA that disciplinary proceedings were initiated against one of the producers who worked with Shri T.G.;

iv.     Letters issued by FEFKA highlighting that no members of FEFKA were working with Shri T.G.

NCLAT opined that CCI (and DG) had rightly come to their definite conclusion regarding the violation of Section 3 read with Section 48 of the Act by the opposite parties and their office bearers. Accordingly, NCLAT saw fit to not grant any relief and dismissed the appeal.

[1] Competition Appeal AT No. 05 of 2017 (Order delivered on March 13, 2020)

Published In:Inter Alia Special Edition - Competition Law - May 2020 [ English
Date: May 11, 2020