Plea on Mersal referred to Bench
Petitioner fears theatres could levy high ticket price
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.