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Madras High Court Asks State To Continue Monitoring Movie Ticket Prices

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Madras High Court Asks State To Continue Monitoring Movie Ticket Prices

The Madras High Court has directed the State government to continue its measures to monitor the amount of fees charged by way of movie tickets in cinema theatres .

Justice Anita Sumanth was dealing with three writ petitions which had been filed seeking action against theatre owners for charging more than the actual ticket rate fixed by the government for three movies- Kabali, Singam III and Bairavaa. The court also directed the State to take a decision on dealing with the excess charges already collected by the theatres.

The State shall continue with the measures for monitoring of ticket collection. A suitable decision also be taken on the fate of excess charges found to have been collected by the cinema theatres. As on date, the excess charges are retained by the theatre owners and the State only imposes a penalty for the violations detected.

The court noted that the petitioner had previously filed petitions seeking similar reliefs for other movies. At that time, the first bench had noted that the violations had to be looked into by the Commercial Tax Department and the Licensing Authority. The court had thus directed the setting up of a Special Tea, to monitor the aspects of violations and inform the public at large about the methodology for giving complaints telephonically.

The petitioner had alleged that even after the above order, the respondent shad failed to take note of the menace. The petitioner submitted that even though the Government had fixed the minimum and maximum price of tickets, the theatre owners still continued to sell tickets at a rate higher than the rate fixed.

At the time of admission, the Police Commissioner submitted that pursuant to the earlier orders of the court, suitable actions have been taken by constituting various committees to monitor the complaints against the theatre owners who were charging excess rates. The committees have been set up across the state of Tamil Nadu and the manner of providing complaints has also been prescribed under various circulars.

The Advocate General had also informed the court that vide another government order, the Home (Cinema) Department had made amendments with respect to fixing rates of tickets in A/C theatres and Non A/C theatres in Municipal Corporation, municipalities, town panchayats, village panchayats fixing both minimum and maximum ticket charges. Therefore, the theatre owners could not charge above this rate.

The court also looked into the Status Report filed by the State with respect to the actions taken by them with respect to theatres which were found to be charging rates more than the rate fixed by the government. Being satisfied with the steps taken, the court directed the state to continue with the measures for monitoring the ticket collection.

Case Title: G Devarajan v. The Chief Secretary and others

Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 53

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