Order on classical dance stands

J. Venkatesan

High Court judgment quashing municipality orders allowed to stand

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has declined to interfere with the judgment of the Madras High Court quashing orders passed by the Puducherry municipality refusing to issue licences to hotels for conducting classical dance programmes.

A Bench of Justice A.R. Lakshmanan and Justice Altamas Kabir, after hearing Additional Solicitor General R. Mohan, appearing for the Union Territory and V. Balaji for the hotels, disposed of an appeal filed by the Puducherry Government saying that the police had the authority to take appropriate action if the conditions in the licence were violated.

Hotel A.L. Rasheed had sought a licence for conducting classical dances, which was rejected. Applications of two other hotels for extension of the licences were also rejected.

On a writ petition from M.M. Dinesh, a single judge of the Madras High Court quashed a portion of the order to the extent that it prohibited the authorities from issuing any fresh licence and directed them to consider grant of fresh/renewal of licence.

On a writ appeal from Puducherry municipality, a Division Bench held that total prohibition underlined by way of policy decision was arbitrary and illegal and opposed to the right to carry on any profession.

But the Bench said that it would be open to the authorities to take action if the conditions in the licence were violated.

The present appeal was directed against this judgment.

In its SLP, the Puducherry Government said that the order restricted only a particular activity of entertainment in the hotel and the main activity of running the hotel was not interfered with.

Stating that it was only a reasonable restriction, the SLP sought quashing of the impugned order October 12, 2006.

The Supreme Court, however, declined to interfere with the High Court order and disposed of the appeal.

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