In a significant ruling that comes as a relief to film and television producers, the CCI has put restrictions on the actions of All India Film Employees Confederation (AIFEC), Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) and its allied Associations for forming any anti-competitive agreements amongst themselves. CCI ordered them to cease and desist from Indulging in "anti-competitive conduct". In a complaint filed in 2014 by Mr. Vipul Shah, the Commission on October 31 observed that the federation and its 20 associated crafts associations have violated provisions of the Competition law by restricting film and TV producers from hiring persons who are not their members as artists.
Some of the main grievances of Mr. Shah were that the MOU had a clause which mandated the producers to hire only the members of FWICE and it's allied associations for the production services required by a film producer which meant the clause which made it compulsory to work on "member to member model" only. "This had given a dominant position to FWICE and it's allied associations, whereby they would exploit the film & TV producers by making them agree to any of their unreasonable and exorbitant demands," was his grievance.
The CCI in its order held, "The associations have used their position to disrupt competition and fair-play in the market through their anti-competitive conduct. Through the provisions of clause 6 and 18 of the MOU, the OPs have indulged in anti-competitive conduct such as issuing non-cooperative directives, prohibiting hiring of specialized non-member, artists, conducting vigilance checks, stalling shoots for hiring non-members and levying of penalty. All this amounts to limiting and controlling the services in the Western Indian Film and Television Industry. Even after the expiry of the said MOU on 28.02.2015, the OPs have continued to enforce the anti-competitive clauses."
In view of this, the CCI has ordered all the Confederation, FWICE and all it's affiliated associations "to cease and desist from indulging in conduct which has been found to be in contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act". In a relief to producers, CCI has clearly held that clause 6 of the MOU which restricts the producers from working with non-members of FWICE is anticompetitive and it cannot be imposed on the producers under any agreement. In effect, the producers can now hire its team including technicians, dancers and junior artists among others of their choice, irrespective of whether they are members of FWICE and it's allied associations or not.