The Supreme Court has stayed a Delhi High Court order directing the Monopolies
and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission to investigate allegations of financial
irregularities in the game show `Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC)'' conducted by Star
Plus television channel.
bench headed by Justice B P Singh stayed the high court order after Star India
Pvt Ltd moved the apex court.
counsel Arun Jaitley and Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Star, contended that if
the order was not stayed it would become final and trigger a probe, which was
completely "unwarranted" and "uncalled for".
SC also issued a notice to Anuj Kumar Bhati, on whose petition the high court
had on April 27 asked MRTPC to probe the matter.
had alleged that Star India had violated its own rules and repeatedly allowed
its employees to take part in the show. He had also sought refund of the amount
he allegedly incurred in his attempt to participate in the show.
HC had sought an explanation as to why the television quiz show, Kaun Banega Crorepati
3, seems easier for Bollywood stars than the other participants. "There is
something mysterious as to how actors, who participate on behalf of some charities,
invariably get hefty prize money as compared to common public participants,"
a division bench of Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice J P Singh observed.
"coincidence" spurred the bench to direct MRTPC to uncover any "fraud,
tricks or manipulations, if any, in the game (KBC-3)".
programme has drawn flak for alleged misuse of MTNL, BSNL and Airtel airwaves
and landlines for enticing the public with "false promises" of winning
that any false impressions were created in the show, Star India said the programme
was an independent show based on general knowledge and skill and did not promote
products of any specific company. So, it failed to satisfy the ingredients of
''unfair trade practice'', the company said.
high court wholly misdirected itself in assuming that the provisions of the MRTP
Act would be applicable to the general knowledge quiz game without prima facie
satisfying as to whether the ingredients for such investigation are fulfilled,"
the Star India petition said.
questions of allurement, misrepresentation or fraud did not arise
as the public voluntarily participated in the game show without any inducement,
the petition added.
further said the issues with regard to finance were confidential and proprietary
matters and it was not under any obligation to divulge such details.