challenging, inter alia, a communication dated 2nd April, 2005 issued by
the Principal Secretary to Government of Karnataka, Department of Internal
Administration and Transport, Bangalore to the 2nd respondent informing the
said respondent that theater owners and owners of M/s PVR Cinemas are
required to obtain compulsory certificates from Films Division under the
Karnataka Cinemas Regulation Act, 1994 (hereinafter referred to as "the
Act") and under Rule 35(c) of the Karnataka Cinemas (Regulation) Rules,
1971 (hereinafter referred to as "the Rules") framed thereunder and to
exhibit the films approved by the Films Division. An endorsement dated
28th May, 2005 requiring the appellant to obtain "Compulsory Certificate
from Films Division" under the aforesaid Act and the Rules was also put to
challenge in the writ petition filed. The effect of the aforesaid impugned
orders, it may be noticed, is that the appellant before screening the
regular movies in its theaters was required to exhibit documentary films
produced by the Films Division only.
Whether the appellant was exhibiting films obtained from private
sources which are or not approved by the State Government is a matter of
The same, however, need not detain the court. Even
assuming that the documentary films obtained from private sources exhibited
by the appellant did not have the approval of the State Government the
question has to be answered is
whether the same would constitute sufficient
justification on the part of the State Government to issue directions to
the effect that the appellant should exhibit documentary films produced by
the Films Division only.
A consideration of the various provisions
contained in the Act and the Rules including those extracted above do not
indicate the availability of the power to the State Governments to issue
any such blanket directions.
The power conferred is to issue directions
for exhibition of films approved by the State Government which approval, as
noticed earlier, can be obtained in two different modes.
It is not in dispute that at the relevant point of time the State
Advisory Board had not be constituted.
It is also not in dispute that the
said Board came into existence in the year 2007.
However, what is not
clear is whether the said Board continues to remain in office as on date.
Be that as it may, if the Advisory Board was not available at the relevant
point of time even the absence of such Board cannot clothe the State with
the power to issue the impugned directions inasmuch as in that event the
alternative mode of approval under Rule 17 has to be availed of.
So construed, we have no doubt that the initial order passed by the
Division Bench allowing the Writ Appeal and setting aside the impugned
notice was perfectly justified.
The subsequent order passed on 18th
November, 2006 virtually reverses the relief granted in the Writ Appeal and
once again imposes the requirement on the appellant to exhibit documentary
films produced by and procured from the Films Division only.
In fact, the
said requirement was directed to be made an express condition of the
licence to be granted to theater owners including the appellant.
We do not
find any authority or sanction in any provisions of the Act/Rules to
sustain the said later direction of the High Court.
However, as the order of the Division Bench clearly states that the
impugned later direction is only during the interregnum i.e. valid till
such time that the Advisory Board is constituted, there can be no doubt
that if at present there is a Advisory Board functioning the said direction
must cease to remain in force and consequently the conditions incorporated
in the licence of the appellant to the said effect will have to be deleted.
We order accordingly and further direct that if the Advisory Board is
functioning as on date it will be open to all concerned including the
appellant to seek approval under the provisions of Rules 18, 19 and 20 of
the Rules of the documentary films it intends to exhibit.
Consequently, the part of the impugned order passed on 18th November,
2006 in reversal of the main part of the order dated 16th November, 2006
stands set aside and Civil Appeal No.10091 of 2010 is allowed to the extent
indicated above. -2015 S.C. msk law reports