1. The petitioner applied for the grant of touring cinema licence under the Karnataka Cinemas (Regulation) t, 1964, hereinafter referred to as the Act, read with the Karnataka Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1971, hereinafter referred to as the Rules. The District Magistrate, Mysore District, who is the licensing authority granted a No Objection Certificate in respect of an area measuring 150' x 150' comprised in S. No. 60 at Eranagere village, Mysore Taluka, the boundaries of which have been specified in the No Objection certificate granted as per Ex. A. Thereafter, the licensing authority granted a licence on the 28th of August. 1974 for a period of one month from 30th August. 1974 to 29th of September, 1974.
2. Respondent 2 challenged the grant of No Objection Certificate and the licence before the State Government under Section 18 of the Act. The State Government in exercise of its revisional powers under Section 18. set aside the No Objection Certificate, and the licence granted in favour of the petitioner by its order dated 19th March, 1975, produced in the case as Exhibit D. It is the said order that is challenged by the petitioner in this writ petition. During the pendency of this writ petition the petitioner has continued the exhibition of cinematograph films on the strength of the stay order obtained by him, which in turn enabled him to obtain renewal of the licence subject to the final decision in this writ petition.
3. The aforesaid facts make it abundantly clear that though the licence was granted to the petitioner for a period of one month, he has by now exhibited shows for nearly eleven months.
4. It was contended by Sri R. U.Goulay, learned counsel for the petitioner that the State Government committed an error apparent on the face of the record in interfering with the No Objection Certificate granted by the licensing authority.
5. The State Government has taken the view that the No Objection Certificate and the licence are liable to be set aside inasmuch as the provisions of sub-rules (1) and (2) of Rule 96 and Rule 107 of the Rules, have been violated.
6. Sub-rule (1) of R. 96 requires the licensing authority, on receipt of an application under Rule 90, to notify at the cost of the applicant, the public of such intention by publication in at least two local newspapers (in the regional language) having largest circulation in the area and also by such other methods as it deems fit, inviting objections. The notice has to be in Form-C and the period within which objections to be sent to the licensing authority should be fifteen days from the date of publication of the notice. Sub-rule (2) of Rule 96 requires the licensing authority to direct the applicant to put up a notice in the English language and also in the regional language in Form B in this behalf on a board on the proposed site in such a position that it can be plainly seen from the public thoroughfare. The notice on the board should be on display until the application for licence is decided by the licensing authority. The board has to be of prescribed dimensions and notice has to be in bold and clearly legible letters. The sub-rule further provides that before further action is taken on the application for grant or otherwise of the No objection certificate, the licensing authority should satisfy himself by personal inspection or otherwise that these requirements have been complied with by the applicant.
7. It was maintained by Sri R. U. Goulay that the requirements of sub-rules (1) and (2) of Rule 96, are not mandatory and that, therefore, substantial compliance with the said provisions is sufficient particularly when the duty to a large extent is cast on the licensing authority to see that the requirements of sub-rules (1) and (2) of Rule 96 of the Rules are complied with. So far as sub-rule (1) of Rule 96 is concerned, it was pointed out by Sri R. U. Goulay that though publication has to be made in two local newspapers in this case admittedly publication has been made in one newspaper. An obligation is cast really on the licensing authority to secure publication in at least two local news papers though the cost has to be borne by the applicant. It was contended that it is not as though the petitioner was not willing to bear the cost of publication in another newspaper. It was contended that having regard to the circumstances of the case, publication in one newspaper is substantial compliance of sub-rule (1) of Rule 96, It appears to me wholly unnecessary to express any final opinion in this case as to whether the requirement of sub-rule (1) of Rule 96 of the Rules, is mandatory, as I am clearly of opinion, that the impugned order of the State Government has to be affirmed having regard to the provisions of sub-rule (2) of Rule 96 which, have not been followed in this case, are mandatory in character.
8. As already noticed sub-rule (2) of Rule 96 of the Rules requires the licensing authority to direct the applicant to put up a notice in the English Language as well as in the regional language in Form B on a board on the proposed site in such a position that it can be plainly seen from the public thoroughfare. The sub-rule requires that the board has to be of a particular dimension and that the notice should be in bold and clearly legible letters. The sub-rule further requires the licensing authority to satisfy himself by personal inspection or otherwise that them requirements have been complied with by the applicant The object of sub rule (2) is to give notice of the application to the members of the public of the locality concerned with a view to give them an opportunity to file their objections, if any. The said sub-rule further requires the licensing authority to consider the objections received within the prescribed time before taking a decision in the matter of grant of No-Objection-Certificate. The object of sub-rule (2) of Rule 96 is to secure all available information in regard to the hardship and inconvenience that may be caused to the members of e public by the grant of a No-objection certificate for running cinematograph shows on the site in question. The object of the legislature is clearly to the effect that the requirement of sub-rule (2) of Rule 96 should be complied with. It is precisely for this reason that a duty has been cast on the licensing authority to satisfy himself by personal inspection or otherwise, as to whether the requirements of sub-rule (2) of Rule 96 have been complied with by the applicant. The members of the public will be denied an opportunity of placing their view in the matter before the licensing authority if publication in the locality as required under sub-rule (2) of Rule 96 is not effected. I am therefore clearly of opinion that the requirements of sub-role (2) of Rule 96 are mandatory. If the requirements of sub-rule (2) of Rule 96 are not complied with, the revisional authority would be justified in setting aside the No objection certificate granted in violation of sub-Rule (2) of Rule 96. In this case, the State Government, which is the revisional authority, has, after examining the records of the licensing authority, held that the requirements of sub-rule (2) of Rule 96 of the rules, have not been complied with. That finding has not been shown to be a wrong one by Shri. Goulay, learned counsel appearing for the petition. As there has been a clear breach of sub-rule (2) of Rule 96 of the Rules, the State Government was well within its rights in setting aside the No objection certificate as well as the consequential licence granted by the licensing authority.
9. As the impugned order of the State Government can be affirmed on the ground it at there has been breach of the requirements of sub-rule (2) of Rule 96, it is unnecessary for me to further examine as to whether the requirements of sub-rule (1) of Rule 96 are mandatory or as to whether there has been breach of Rule 107 of the Rules. I consider it unnecessary to embark on this enquiry particularly in view of the fact that Shri Goulay, submitted that the Petitioner will file a fresh application for the grant of no objection certificate and secure a decision in accordance with law, after fulfilling all the requirements.
10. For the reasons stated above, this writ petition fails and is dismissed. No costs
11. Petition dismissed.