Andhra Pradesh

High court verdict on online sale of cinema tickets by A.P. government on July 1

The government’s cinema ticket platform aims at curbing tax evasion, monitoring ticket prices and number of shows, official tells High Court.

The government’s cinema ticket platform aims at curbing tax evasion, monitoring ticket prices and number of shows, official tells High Court. | Photo Credit: V. Raju

The Andhra Pradesh High Court reserved the writ petition filed by Bigtree Entertainment Private Limited (BookMyShow) against introduction of AP Cinemas (Regulation) (Amendment) Act No. 12 of 2021 for launching a government-run ticket-booking platform, for pronouncement of its order on July 1.

The Mumbai-based online ticket aggregator argued that the government planned to launch the ticket-booking platform in such a way that it would repress the existing private ticket-booking platforms like itself by making their business commercially unviable.

As per the scheme mentioned by the State, all booking platforms would be forced to charge a service charge of 2% in the name of forceful integration and transfer the same to the AP State Film Television and Theatre Development Corporation. In practice, it would lead to complete elimination of the business of aggregators like Bigtree Entertainment Private Limited.

State’s view

In his counter affidavit, Government Principal Secretary (Home) Harish Kumar Gupta said the legitimate aim of the government’s cinema ticket booking platform was to curb tax evasion, monitor the ticket prices, number of shows etc., and claimed that hundreds of theatres had agreed to abide by the procedure prescribed by the State through the impugned legislation and rules thereof, and the same ought not to be interdicted in public interest.

While Advocate-General S. Sriram appeared for the State, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi represented Bigtree Entertainment Private Limited.

It may be noted that the Multiplex Association of India had also challenged the government’s proposal to sell cinema tickets online, which kicked up a major controversy.


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Printable version | Jul 22, 2022 2:23:22 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/andhra-pradesh-high-court-verdict-on-online-sale-of-cinema-tickets-by-government-on-july-1/article65582692.ece