Plea on Mer­sal re­ferred to Bench

Pe­ti­tioner fears the­atres could levy high ticket price

The Hindu - - FRONT PAGE - Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

A sin­gle judge of the Madras High Court on Thurs­day re­ferred to a Di­vi­sion Bench a writ pe­ti­tion urg­ing the court to re­strain 40 cinema the­atres, in­fa­mous for charg­ing ex­or­bi­tant ticket fares, from screen­ing the muchawaited Deep­avali re­lease of Vi­jay-star­rer Mer­sal.

The pe­ti­tioner also sought a di­rec­tion to the cinema halls to dis­play gov­ern­ment fixed ticket rates on their no­tice boards.

Jus­tice K. Ravichan­drabaabu di­rected the High Court Reg­istry to list the case be­fore the First Di­vi­sion Bench of Chief Jus­tice Indira Ban­er­jee and Jus­tice M. Sun­dar since it was in the na­ture of a pub­lic in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tion plea and not a writ pe­ti­tion that could be filed by in­di­vid­u­als to es­pouse pri­vate in­ter­ests.

In his af­fi­davit, the pe­ti­tioner G. De­vara­jan claimed that se­lect the­atres in the State were in the habit of mak­ing a huge amount of money dur­ing the first five days of big re­leases in­volv­ing cel­e­brated ac­tors.

The pe­ti­tioner claimed to have al­ready filed sev­eral writ pe­ti­tions re­lated to ex­or­bi­tant ticket charges col­lected by those the­atres.

He pointed out that four writ pe­ti­tions filed by him with re­spect to col­lec­tion of money be­yond gov­ern­ment fixed ticket prices dur­ing the re­lease of Ra­jinikants-tar­rer Ka­bali, Suriya-star­rer Singam III, Vi­jay’s Bairava and ac­tor Ajith’s Vivegam were still pend­ing in the court af­ter fil­ing of coun­ter­af­fi­davits by the of­fi­cials (re­spon­dents).

“I beg to sub­mit that the theatre own­ers in Tamil Nadu to­tally ig­nore the laws, and with the sole in­ten­tion of amass­ing prof­its, have looted crores of ru­pees il­le­gally when the films fea­tur­ing pop­u­lar stars are screened,” the pe­ti­tioner said and ap­pre­hended that there was ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity of col­lec­tion of ex­cess ticket rates for Mer­sal.

Ac­cus­ing the spe­cial teams formed by the gov­ern­ment, on a di­rec­tion is­sued by the court in one of the cases filed by him, of not func­tion­ing ac­tively, he sought a di­rec­tion to those teams to con­duct checks on cinema the­atres.

He urged the court to di­rect all cinema the­atres in the State to dis­play the gov­ern­ment-fixed ticket rate.

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