Non-competitor cannot be held liable for denial of market access
16 May, 2014
The Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) has overruled the ruling given by Competition Commission of India in 2012 [Please refer Corporate Amicus-July 2012 issue for CCI Order] imposing penalty on cable operators for denial of market access to the broadcasters and other stakeholders, by certain cable operators who worked as a group, and hence acting in contravention to Section 4(2)(c) of the Competition Act, 2002. Noting that the informant-broadcaster (Kansan News Pvt. Ltd.) and the appellant-Multi System Operator (MSO) (Fast Way Transmission Pvt. Ltd. ) were at different levels of supply chain in the market, and there was no question of competing with each other, it was held that question of denial of market access to the broadcaster by an MSO cannot arise.
The Tribunal in this regard, further went on to hold that even if they were competitors, the Commission had not found that there was denial of market access as a result of a practice adopted by MSO, as a group, by termination of contract. It was hence held on 2-5-2014 that it cannot be said that by termination of a contract of interconnection of services between two service providers, there has been a denial of market access to the actual transmission of the channels and that there was denial of services to the viewers causing consumer harm.