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Licensing of cinema halls: HC seeks Centre, AAP govt responses

Licensing of cinema halls: HC seeks Centre, AAP govt responses
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The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought responses from AAP government, city police and Centre on a plea challenging a notification directing that cinema halls would be granted licenses by district commissioners of revenue department.

A Bench, comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, asked the Delhi government, Ministries of Home Affairs and Information and Broadcasting, and the city police to file their reply on the plea in two weeks.

The Bench was hearing a plea filed by an association representing cinema hall owners of the city, which said that according to the Cinematograph Act, 1952, the district commissioner were responsible for grant of licences.

Counsel appearing for the cinema hall owners said that after the Cinematograph Act, Delhi Police Act of 1978 was enacted and the power to grant the licence was shifted to city police commissioner.

He said that as per the notification issued by the Delhi government in January, the power to grant licence has again being given to district commissioner.

“A district commissioner has in October asked a cinema hall to close down despite the clearances given by the Delhi police commissioner. We are caught in the crossfire due to the tussle between Delhi police and city government,” the counsel said.

The Bench however, refused to pass any interim order and asked the parties to file their counter affidavit before the next date of hearing on December 17.

On November 3, a single judge bench had transferred the plea to the Bench of Chief Justice which is hearing matters pertaining to the tussle between Delhi government and Centre over Lieutenant Governor’s (LG) powers.

The association has challenged a January 9 notification issued by the LG Najeeb Jung, prior to the Aam Aadmi Party coming to power, appointing the deputy commissioners (revenue) of all revenue districts in Delhi as the licensing authorities for city cinema halls.

It has decided to challenge the notification now as both the revenue department and the Delhi police have sent them the letters informing that each of them would be carrying out inspections of the cinema halls.
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