COMPAT refuses to stay Jab Tak Hai Jaan release, but issues notice to YRF

By Hindustan Times

The Competition Appellate Tribunal refused to stay the screening of Jab Tak Hai Jaan produced by Yash Raj Films but issued notices to the production house on Ajay Devgn's plea over alleged abuse of dominant position. Ajay Devgn Films (ADF) had moved the tribunal after the Competition Commission rejected the plea against Yash Raj Films for alleged abuse of dominant positions.

Both Ajay Devgn's Son of Sardaar and Jab Tak Hai Jaan are slated to release on November 13 and advanced bookings have already started.

The tribunal said huge economic interests are at stake for both the parties' films and there could be irreparable loss, if the release is stayed.

"We desist from passing any order," it said and noted that "it would not be proper on our part to freeze the agreements" between Yash Raj Films and the single screen film exhibitors.

However, the tribunal has issued notices to Yash Raj Films (YRF) along with its distributor entities, following ADF's appeal.

The tribunal bench headed by chairman Justice V S Sirpurkar also said that "it was not expressing any opinion (about the matter) at this stage".

On the second day of hearing today, film maker Prakash Jha, a close friend of Ajay Devgn, was present and was assisting ADF's lawyers during the proceedings.

Fair trade regulator Competition Commission had rejected Devgn's complaint against Yash Raj Films, saying that there are no violations of competition norms in the case.

ADF had moved the Commission alleging that Yash Raj Films was using its dominant position to ask exhibitors to dedicate more screens to its own upcoming release, Shah Rukh Khan-starer Jab Tak Hai Jaan, affecting Devgn's film Son of Sardaar.

The Commission had said Devgn did not place on record any data related to market share or economic strength to show how the YRF was in a dominant position in the relevant market.

Last Friday, the Delhi High Court had asked the CCI to "expeditiously" decide on Ajay Devgn Films' complaint that Son of Sardaar was allegedly not getting enough single-screen theatres as Yash Raj Films allegedly has used its dominant position for better exhibition of Jab Tak Hai Jaan. As per the Commission, the grievance of Ajay Devgn Films arose due to fear that it would not get enough theatres for Son of Sardaar because of the agreement of single screen theatres with Yash Raj Films at the time of releasing Ek Tha Tiger.

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