The Supreme Court has provided a huge relief to Amitabh Bachchan’s Kaun Banega Crorepati by reversing an adverse judgment passed by the consumer court, which had directed Sony TV’s quiz show to pay Rs 1 crore in compensation for misleading the audience.
The consumer court had found the show guilty of ‘unfair trade practice’ in a contest telecast during season 3 of the KBC. The show was broadcast on Star Plus then. Reversing the 2008 judgment of the consumer court, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices MM Shantanagoudar and R Subhash Reddy said that the finding of the commission of ‘an unfair trade practice’ was ‘bad in law.’
According to a report by news agency PTI, the Supreme Court noted in its verdict that participants in the Har Seat Hot Seat contest were required to pay Rs 2.40 per SMS to Airtel, which was higher than the normal rate for SMSes. Viewers taking part in the contest were expected to submit the correct answer through SMS services offered by Airtel, MTNL and BSNL, to a specified number. The winner for each episode would then be randomly selected and awarded a prize money of Rs 2 lakh.
The petitioner had argued before the consumer court that the cost of organising the contest as well as the prize money was being reimbursed from the increased rate of SMS charges. The plea also alleged that the surplus money earned through these SMSes were being shared by Airtel and Star India.
Aside from directing Star India and Airtel to pay Rs 1 crore in a penalty, the consumer court had also awarded Rs 50,000 compensation to the petitioner to cover his legal cost.
The Supreme Court concluded that there was no evidence that Star India recovered the prize money from the premium SMS services.
Amitabh Bachchan recently concluded the 11th edition of KBC on Sony TV, where four contestants won Rs 1 crore each.