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Ban on Telecast of dubbed TV shows

By Salome Bodaji, Associate

There has always been hue and cry over telecasting dubbed TV shows in various parts of the country. In 2015 a Tamil actor committed suicide due to lack of work. The actors, directors, producers etc. were of the view that the lack of work was because of the telecast of dubbed TV shows and therefore went on to protest against it.

Recently, the apex court of the country in a significant ruling of Competition Commission of India v Co-ordination Committee of Artists and Technicians of West Bengal Film and Television and Others, said that anyone who attempts to stall the exhibition of dubbed films or TV shows under the garb of protecting a language would be guilty of violating the Competition Act, 2002. The primary reason for this contention of the Supreme Court was the telecast of the soap ‘Mahabharat’ which was dubbed from Hindi to Bengali on various Bengali TV channels.

East India Motion Picture Association (EMIPA) and the Coordination Committee of Artists and Technicians of West Bengal Film and Television Investors felt that dubbed serials would have an adverse effect on artist, producers, etc. in West Bengal and as a result would deter the production of Bengali serials.

Both the Associations wrote letters to channels and asked them to stop the telecast of dubbed TV shows and stated that channels would face non-corporation from EIMPA if such telecasts were not stopped. One of the channel owners filed a complaint with the Competition Commission of India who found such a threat to be anti-competitive, however the Competition Appellate Tribunal held that the threat was not anti-competitive. The Supreme Court was moved by the Competition Commission of India and the matter was before Justice A K Sikri and Justice A M Sapre. The Justices went on to say that the threat to boycott was made to prevent the channels from pursuing the legitimate commercial activities and therefore banning the telecast of such shows would be a clear violation of the Competition Act.

This judgment has deemed that dubbed TV shows are not anti-competitive by nature and can be telecasted without any interference.