Madras High Court Asks State To Continue Monitoring Movie Ticket Prices

The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to take a call on the fate of excess ticket charges collected by cinema theatres, since as on date, the theatres are allowed to retain the money and the squads only impose compounding fees of ₹1,000 whenever they detect collection of charges in excess of government-fixed rates.

Justice Anita Sumanth issued the direction while closing a batch of three writ petitions filed by advocate clerk G. Devarajan in 2016 and 2017 complaining about many cinema theatres having charged exorbitantly for Rajinikanth-starrer Kabali and asking for the prevention of such illegalities during the release of Suriya-starrer Singam 3 and Vijay-starrer Bairavaa.

The judge pointed out that the litigant had been filing cases since 2015 on the issue. Disposing of one of his cases in 2016, the then first Division Bench of Chief Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M.M. Sundresh (both serving as Supreme Court judges now) had ordered the constitution of special squads to crack down on theatres involved in illegalities.

Then, the court had taken note that the maximum ticket charge that could be collected by theatres was ₹120 and that it was ₹480 only for IMAX screens. Even after the categorical order, the petitioner had moved the present petitions alleging that the officials continued to be remiss in controlling this menace and that many theatres were fleecing their audiences.

Passing interim orders in the present batch of three writ petitions, Justice T. Raja (now Acting Chief Justice) had, on January 12, 2017, directed the squads to take action against theatres that collect excess ticket charges and file a status report listing out the number of complaints received, the raids conducted, and the punishment imposed on the violators.

Accordingly, the government filed a status report providing details of the action taken and it was found that in most of the cases, the theatre owners were let off on imposition of a compounding fee of ₹1,000 whenever a complaint had been received from any cinema-goer with respect to him/her having been asked to pay excess ticket charges.

Justice Sumanth perused the report and directed the officials to continue monitoring ticket collection by theatres. However, on finding that the excess charge had been allowed to be retained by the cinema theatres, she directed the government to take a call on the fate of these excess charges.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top