Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to respond before December 19 to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by G Devarajan seeking action to be taken against theatres that over price movie tickets. The PIL that was filed on November 19 came up for hearing by a bench presided by Justices Rajamanickam and Sathyanarayanan on November 27.
The bench has asked the government why it has not yet implemented the ticket pricing regulation rules that were made in 2017. It has also directed the government to explain the present status of the regulatory committee that was formed to oversee ticket pricing.
Devarajan has named a total of 59 respondents in his PIL including the Additional Chief Secretary (Home Department), Revenue Administration Commissioner, and the district collectors of Chennai, Tiruvallur, and Kancheepuram.
In his PIL he argues that theatres charge a higher rate on the first five days of a film’s release, more so if it is the film of a well-known star. Further, he has sought that Rajinikanth’s upcoming 2.0 and Petta and Ajith’s Viswasam can only be exhibited at the charges prescribed by the government in theatres, and has requested the court to direct the government to take action against those who overprice tickets for these three films.
The government order dated October 6, 2017 has laid a few ground rules for fixing movie ticket prices. The order states that in Chennai, Multiplex and AC theatres can charge a maximum of Rs 160 and a minimum of Rs 50 whereas non-AC theatres in Chennai can charge a maximum of Rs 120 and a minimum of Rs 40.
Multiplex and AC theatres outside Chennai can charge a maximum of Rs 140 and a minimum of Rs 50 while non-AC theatres outside Chennai can price their tickets between Rs 100 and Rs 30.
Devarajan also lists in his PIL that he had filed a writ petition with an identical request in 2016 for Rajini’s Kabali and Suriya’s Singam 3 followed by a petition in 2017 for Vijay’s Bairavaa and Ajith’s Vivegam, all of which are pending.
Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, on November 1, had directed Madurai Collector to take strict action against theatres that flout the Government Order with respect to ticket prices for Vijay’s Sarkar. The bench was hearing a petition filed by P Mahendra Pandi of Madurai, a functionary of TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK.
P Mahendra Pandi then filed a contempt of court case stating that the movie theatres in Madurai had charged exorbitantly for Sarkar tickets in spite of the ruling. The bench, therefore, has director Madurai Collector to submit a report on the action taken against those theatres that had overpriced Sarkar tickets. Furthermore, it has directed theatres to submit their daily collection records between November 6 and 16. This case will be heard again on December 6.