K.T.Sangameswaran

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed a permanent cinema theatre to pay Rs.36,000, the profit for nine days, as a punishment for a violation, to two charitable institutions run for the blind.

Justice N.Paul Vasanthakumar passed the order, after the theatre agreed to pay the amount to charitable institutions.

Sree Balaji Theatres of Thirukoilur filed a writ petition seeking to quash the order of the government in January this year modifying the suspension of its ‘C’ form licence for 10 days.

On March 17, 2007, a new picture named ‘Sabari’ was exhibited during the morning show. After inspecting the theatre, the RDO, Thirukoilur, submitted a report to the Villupuram District Collector who issued a show cause notice alleging that the theatre collected higher rate for admission thereby violating the condition in the ‘C’ form licence. Petitioner explained that all the tickets were sold to the Fans’ Association which did bulk booking. The theatre did not collect any higher rate. Without considering the explanation, the ‘C’ form licence was suspended for 15 days and following an appeal, the period was reduced to 10 days. The theatre filed a revision, but it was dismissed.

Against this, the writ petition was filed on the ground that principles of natural justice were not followed by the licensing authority while imposing the punishment of suspension of licence.

Admitting the petition, the court granted interim stay. When the matter was posted for extending the stay, petitioner’s counsel submitted that out of the ten days of suspension imposed, the theatre was closed for one day and instead of closing for nine days to undergo punishment, the theatre was willing to pay its profit for the period to any welfare organisation/charitable institution. The court could fix the amount and give a direction.

The government advocate said the suggestion may be accepted.The Judge directed that Rs.25,000 be paid to CSI Blind School, Irenipuram, Kanyakumari district and Rs.11,000 to Nethrodaya Trust, Mogappair East, within two weeks.

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