Unnecessary To Dwell Any Further On The Issues Projected In The Information By Examining The Matter On Merits: Competition Commission of India

The Informant had filed an information alleging contravention of Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act. However, the Informant couldn’t provide sufficient details or proof to substantiate the claims. As it lacked merits, the Information filed could not be maintained. This was decided in the matter of In Re: R. Gunasekaran and Broadcast Audience Research Council [Case No. 11 of 2021], before Hon’ble Chairperson, Ashok Kumar Gupta, Members, Ms. Sangeeta Verma and Mr. Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi.

The Informant claims that the manipulation of the ratings violated both Section 3 and Section 4 of the Act. In this regard, based on the OP’s response, the OP filed a criminal complaint with the Mumbai Police in reference to the ‘TRP Scam.’ The OP also claimed to have supported many law enforcement organizations in their investigations into the ‘ratings manipulation.’ The Informant did not question the OP’s responses or allegations. The Informant had stated that the OP paused the release of ratings for only news channels, which makes it reasonable to assume that it is defective for all other types of channels as well.

The Commission took notice of the OP’s submission that it temporarily decided to stop reporting news and specialized genres on October 15, 2020, in order for its Technical Committee to examine and supplement the existing requirements for providing audience data for the aforementioned categories. Following that, the MIB requested that the OP maintain the status quo with respect to the temporary intermission in the reporting of Channel Wise Weekly Data for the news genre. The OP’s Technical Committee made recommendations on the revised reporting standards, which the OP was in the process of putting into effect once MIB’s directives to maintain the status quo were lifted.

After considering submissions from both the parties, the Commission held that, “In view of the above developments and taking the submissions and assertions made by the OP and as noted in the preceding paras, the Commission is of the view that it is unnecessary to dwell any further on the issues projected in the Information by examining the matter on merits, and accordingly, the Information is ordered to be closed…….Before parting with the order, the Commission deems it appropriate to deal with the request of the Opposite Party seeking confidentiality over certain documents / information filed by it under Regulation 35 of General Regulations, 2009. Considering the grounds put forth by the Opposite Party for the grant of confidential treatment, the Commission grants confidentiality to such documents/information in terms of Regulation 35 of the General Regulations, 2009, read with Section 57 of the Act for a period of three years from the passing of this order. It is, however, made clear that nothing used in this order shall be deemed to be confidential or deemed to have been granted confidentiality, as the same have been used for the purposes of the Act in terms of the provisions contained in Section 57 thereof.”

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Judgement Reviewed by Vagisha Sagar



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