During the present-day debate over manipulation of TRPs by various tv channels has created a furore amongst many stakeholders in the industry.
The investigation which has been launched by the Mumbai Police has raised many eyebrows and people who have a stake in the industry are asking the government to make guidelines that will ensure that the system is full proof and cannot be manipulated for private gains.
Hon’ble Justice D.Y Chandrachud who is currently a sitting Judge in the Supreme Court had passed his Judgement in a PIL back in 2001 where the petitioner had requested the Court to form a government organisation to monitor measurement of TRPs and all the data related to it.
Brief Facts of the Case:-
The PIL was filed by Mr PS Deodhar where he had requested that an autonomous body should be formed to deal with TRPs of channels. In his petition, Mr Deodhar had stated that there was a direct relationship between the TRPs and the rate of advertisements. He further contended that the TRPs only showed a one-dimensional picture when the broader reach of Public Broadcaster Doordarshan was compared to private tv channels.
Mr Deodhar directed the Court’s attention to the fact that TRPs were generated by two companies Tam Media Research Pvt Ltd and Indian National Television Audience Measurement Co Pvt Ltd and that the government of India did not supervise the companies. He said that the sample size was inadequate and that there was an ‘urban bias’ as well.
The petitioner requested the Court that a government body should be formed to control and measure TRPs and that there should be no ‘undue influence’ of private companies and individuals on the TRP rating mechanism.
The reasoning of the Court
Hon’ble Bombay High Court opined that there was no compulsion on anyone to subscribe to the rating given by the private companies. It is left to advertisers if they want to accept the ratings given by companies.
The Bombay High Court also observed that measurement of TV ratings was not prohibited under any law, and it will be ‘inappropriate’ for the Court to intervene in the issue.
Hon’ble Bombay High Court further observed that comparison between Doordarshan and private channels could not be the ground for the petition because, for private channels, the sole motive was to maximise profits. At the same time, the Doordarshan subscribes to social and cultural objectives.
It was also observed by the Bombay High Court that it should be left to the advertisers whether they want to use the TRPs as a yardstick to measure the profitability of running ads on a particular channel.
The Bombay High Court also opined that Communication Convergence Bill, 2000, was pending before the parliament and will study and publish data about matters related to the communications industry, so the Court’s intervention might not be needed at all.
We want to remind our readers that the parliament ever passed no such law.
The decision of the Court
Hon’ble Court stated that it should be left to the government to form regulations if they want to control TRPs and to what extent. The Court refused to entertain the plea.
Title:Prabhakar Shankar Deodhar vs Union Of India
Citation: 2002 (2) BomCR 106
Coram: Hon’ble Justice B Singh and Hon’ble Justice D Y Chandrachud
Date of Order: 05.11.2001