Penalty imposed on Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation and its key personals for anti-competitive conducts

Competition Commission of India: In its series orders against the film industry players, the competition regulator in the country imposed penalty at the rate of 10% of average incomes on Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation (KFEF) and two of its key personals associated with its affairs, including administration, management and governance. This penalty is imposed after KFEF is found guilty of violation of S. 3(1); read with S. 3(3)(b) of the Competition Act, 2002 i.e. for indulging into controlling and restricting supply and exhibition of films in State of Kerala. KFEF was forcing the movie distributors and other players for not to distribute films to the informant theater which had left the membership of the Federation. The informant left the membership of KFEF against its dictates to strike against certain policies of State Government as strike could affect informant’s business to exhibit English and Hindi movies. Thereafter, KFEF started directing its members to boycott the informant from the business and the members and other players followed the direction in apprehension of financial repressions.

The Commission noted that KFEF is already facing an ongoing investigation under the Competition Act even then it did not stop its anti-competitive behaviors.  In its order under S. 27, the Commission directed the Federation and its office bearers to immediately cease and desist from indulging in anti-competitive conducts. KFEF is directed not to associate two office bearers found guilty for their conducts with its affairs, including administration, management and governance, in any manner for a period of two years. The Federation is directed to organize in letter and spirit, at least five competition awareness and compliance programmes over next six months in the State of Kerala for its members. In Re: Crown Theatre v. Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation, Case No. 16/2014; decided on   08.09.2015

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