Andhra Pradesh High Court Holds That Cinema Theaters Can Collect the Rates of Admission According To Their Representations

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The Himagiri A/C DTS ……petitioner

vs 

State of Andhra Pradesh……respondent 

A single-judge bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy gave orders on the writ petition filed by the petitioner. The petition is filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution to issue the writ of mandamus to declare the actions of the respondents in not permitting the petitioners to run their theaters as per the rates mentioned in the application as illegal and arbitrary.

Further, allowing the petitioners to collect the deemed price appropriate as per the application. 

FACTS

In this case, the petitioners were not allowed to run their theaters at the rates that were decided through an application dated 01.01.2021. The G.O.Ms. No. 100 dated 26.04.2013 issued by the respondent was set aside by the orders passed in W.P. no. 18779 of 2014 and batch dated 31.10.2016 allowing the cinemas theaters to run as per the rates informed to the licensing authority. The petitioners filed the writ petition before the court seeking to declare the act of respondents as illegal and arbitrary and to permit them to collect the price according to the rates mentioned in their application. 

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED

The learned counsel for the petitioners contended before the court that the cinema trade is regulated by A.P. Cinema Act, 1955 and A.P. Cinema Rules, 1970. The writ petitions are filed by the owners of the theaters questioning the validity of the orders passed by the government in G.O. Ms. No. 181 dated 11.07.2011 as being illegal and arbitrary and contrary to the provisions of the act and rules. The government also appointed a seven-member power committee. 

Further, the counsel submitted that the committee submitted its report for fixing the highest rate of the ticket for admission depending upon the area. The petitioners filed an application before the licensing authorities for enhancement of the rates which is still pending and in terms of the orders passed by the court, the respondent is required to notify the recommendations made by the high-power committee. The recommendations of the high-power committee cannot be altered by the respondents as it is not in their scope, nevertheless, the respondents are interfering with the fixation of ticket rates. 

The learned Government pleader for Home submitted that the petitioner theaters were permitted to collect the proposed fares. It was made clear that that they should inform the concerned authorities about the rates they intend to collect in respect of all the classes till adjudication of the issues in question by the respective committee. The Counsel also submitted the circular instructions issued by the government of Andhra Pradesh where the principal secretary to the government permitted phased opening of the cinemas with up to 50% of the capacity in areas outside containment zones and laid down certain guidelines to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19. 

COURT’S DECISION

The court disposed of the writ petition and permitted the petitioners to collect the rates of admission as mentioned in their respective application, strictly adhering to the circular instructions issued by the government of Andhra Pradesh and the SOPs issued by the ministry of information and broadcasting. The registry is directed to annex copies of SOPs issued by the ministry of information and broadcasting. Any application pending shall stand closed.

Click here to read the judgment.


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