HC restraint on screening of special cinema shows

‘Cinema theatres were evading payment of GST and entertainment tax’

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday restrained the Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitors’ Association and the Madurai Ramnad Theatre Owners’ Association from screening special shows beyond the C-Form licence condition.

A Division Bench of Justices K. K. Sasidharan and P. D. Audikesavalu granted an interim injunction until further orders after a public interest litigation petition sought a direction to restrain cinema theatres from charging over and above the rate fixed by the government.

The petitioner, P. Mahendra Pandi, pointed out that in an earlier case filed by him Advocate Commissioners were appointed by the court to ascertain if the theatres in Madurai were selling as per government fixed rates.

This exercise had exposed that the cinema theatres were evading payment of GST and entertainment tax while they were being recovered from the audience.

The daily collection report was being undervalued, resulting in huge revenue loss to the public exchequer. It was mandatory for theatres to maintain four copies of the daily collection register.

One copy each should be forwarded to the licensing, tax and local bodies, apart from one copy being maintained at the theatre, he said.

The C-Form for operating cinema theatre should show the total number of seats and rate of entry fee.

An entry fee beyond the government fixed rate could not be charged even during festival season.

However, theatres under valued the number of seats for profit.

Not all tickets sold through electronic machine and online contained serial numbers, he said.

In the guise of fan shows, cinema theatres were selling tickets at an exorbitant rate. Blaming the fan shows for misleading youth, the petitioner pointed to several instances of fans injuring themselves while attempting to pour milk on actors’ cut-outs.

Apart from seeking a direction to restrain cinema theatres from exhibiting special shows, the petitioner also sought a direction to the authorities concerned to act against those theatres violating the government order and charging exorbitant rates on cinema tickets.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:33:59 PM |

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