The three companies, Asianet Star Communications, Disney Broadcasting India and Star India, filed the writs to challenge a CCI investigation order over abuse of market dominance. The high court refused to intervene, rejecting the writs on the grounds that no cause of action has arisen within the territorial jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court.
Somasekhar Sundaresan was the arguing counsel for the CCI. The writs were filed impugning a CCI order passed under section 26(1) of the Competition Act, 2002, under which the director general was ordered to investigate a complaint filed by Asianet Digital Network (ADNPL), a distributor of TV digital services in Kerala.
ADNPL alleged that the three companies had abused their dominant market position by giving considerable discounts through cashback payments to rival distributor Kerala Communicators Cables.
According to the CCI, ADNPL faced a significant loss in its consumer base due to this price discrimination.
The broadcasters challenged the CCI order at the Bombay High Court, claiming that the case comes under its territorial jurisdiction as the commission’s registered office is in Mumbai.
The Bombay High Court disposed of the writ petitions, stating that the relevant geographical market in the matter is Kerala. If the CCI investigation would have an effect on the broadcasters, it would be in Kerala and not Mumbai, said the court.