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Kerala HC adjourns Star India vs CCI matter to October 6 – Exchange4media

The Kerala High Court has adjourned the Star India vs Competition Commission of India (CCI) matter to October 6. The court will pronounce the order on interim issues raised by the broadcaster and its affiliates on October 6, 2022.

Until then, the undertaking provided by CCI before the court that it will not take any coercive action would continue. The CCI had given an undertaking to the High Court that it will not take coercive steps against the broadcaster till September 23.

Appearing for Star India, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi explained how the current matter is covered by the SC judgment in CCI vs Bharti Airtel matter and the interim protection should be continued.

Star India had moved Kerala High Court on September 19, challenging the investigation launched by the CCI and the subsequent summons issued by the competition watchdog in the matter.

The CCI investigation was initiated on a complaint filed by the multi-system operator (MSO) Asianet Digital Network on the grounds of violation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) new tariff framework. The broadcaster has contended that the matter falls outside the CCI’s jurisdiction.

Initially, the Bombay High Court had granted interim protection to the broadcaster vide its order dated 6th April. However, the Bombay High Court disposed the Writ Petition on 16th September while granting liberty to the broadcaster to approach the appropriate forum possessing territorial jurisdiction.

The MSO alleged that Disney Star is circumventing the new regulatory framework by granting additional discounts to its competitor Kerala Communicators Cables Limited (KCCL). It was alleged that Disney Star entered into marketing agreements with KCCL whereby the latter gets paid for advertising.

Disney Star rejected this claim by arguing that the subscription agreement and marketing agreement are two independent transactions. It also argued that Asianet Digital Network is attempting to link two different transactions with mala fide intentions.

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