GO on video theatres licensing set aside

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Chennai, Oct 18 (UNI) The Madras High Court has set aside a Tamil Nadu Government Order (GO) of 1998 which barred authorities from renewing licences of video theatres.

The impugned GO could not be said to be a reasonable restriction referable to Article 19 (6) of the Constitution.

Such a power was not vested by the Tamil Nadu Exhibition of Films on Television Screen through Video Cassette Recorders and Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act on the State Government to deprive all the licensing authorities from acting in accordance with the Act and Rules, Justice K Chandru said.

The Judge allowed two writ petitions, filed by K A Duraisamy and P D Chockalingam seeking to quash the GO, dated August 18, 1998, and renew the licences of the petitioners to continue to run Balaji Video Theatre, Karimangalam in Dharmapuri District and Saravana Video Theatre, Punram Post in Erode District.

K Doraisami, senior counsel for the petitioners, submitted that since the Legislature had passed the Act and proper rules were framed, there was no question of any general directions being issued by the State Government, which would kill the very purpose of the enactment.

Special Government Pleader A Arumugam said the government had taken the decision since there may be unauthorised exhibition of recently released films in video theatres.

The Judge directed the authorities to consider petitions for renewal of licences strictly in accordance with the Act without reference to the impugned order.

UNI XR GM SBC SSC1224

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