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Kodanda Touring Talkies Vs. State of Karnataka - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectMedia and Communication;Constitution
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. No. 2437 of 1979
Judge
Reported inAIR1986Kant158
ActsKarnataka Cinemas (Regulation) Act, 1964 - Sections 19 and 19(2K); Karnataka Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1971 - Rule 98(2); Constitution of India - Articles 14 and 19(6)
AppellantKodanda Touring Talkies
RespondentState of Karnataka
Appellant AdvocateB.G. Sridharan, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateV.C. Brahmarayappa, Govt. Adv.
Excerpt:
media and communication - sub rule (2), r. 98, karnataka cinemas (regulation) rules, 1971 - validity of sub-rule (2), r. 98 of rules 1971 was challenged - touring cinemas exhibitors contended that since sub-rule imposes period of limitation in matter of grant or re-grant of license in respect of any place on touring cinema only and not on permanent cinema and hence violative of art. 14 as there lies no reasonable basis for classifying cinemas into touring cinemas and permanent cinemas, which had rational relation to purpose of the act - purposes of the act is to secure to the public of different localities all over the state the benefit of cinematograph exhibitions - sub-rule imposing restriction as to exhibition of cinema on for more than one year in locality without break of one month.....venkatachala, j.1. the validity of sub-r.-(2), r. 98, karnataka cinemas (regulation) rules, 1971 (to be hereinafter referred to as 'the rules'), arises for our determination in the present writ petitions and writ appeals.2. the karnataka cinemas (regulation) act, 1964, came into force in the state of karnataka, on 15-3-1971. section 19 of that act empowered the state government to make rules for carrying out the purposes of the act. in exercise of such rule making power, the state government made the rules. sub-rule (2) of r. 98, the validity of which is under challenge, was subsequently inserted in the rules, by r. 11, karnataka cinemas (regulation) (first amendment) rules, 1974. when that sub-rule was inserted in the rules, a large number of touring cinemas exhibitors in the state.....
Judgment:

Venkatachala, J.

1. The validity of sub-r.-(2), R. 98, Karnataka Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1971 (to be hereinafter referred to as 'the Rules'), arises for our determination in the present Writ Petitions and Writ Appeals.

2. The Karnataka Cinemas (Regulation) Act, 1964, came into force in the State of Karnataka, on 15-3-1971. Section 19 of that Act empowered the State Government to make rules for carrying out the purposes of the Act. In exercise of such rule making power, the State Government made the Rules. Sub-rule (2) of R. 98, the validity of which is under challenge, was subsequently inserted in the Rules, by R. 11, Karnataka Cinemas (Regulation) (First Amendment) Rules, 1974. When that sub-rule was inserted in the Rules, a large number of touring cinemas exhibitors in the State challenged its validity, by filing Writ Petitions in this Court.

Chandrashekar, J.

who heard those Writ Petitions, dismissed them upholding the validity of that sub-rule, by his order Dt. 18-10-1974 (See Lakshmi Touring Talkies v. State of Karnataka) The petitioner in Writ Petition No. 1660 of 1974, (reported in AIR 1975 Kant 37), who felt aggrieved by the dismissal of his Writ Petition by the said order, questioned its correctness by presenting Writ Appeal No. 102/75, which has now come up for our consideration. Other Writ Appeals, which have come up for our consideration', are those directed against the orders made by Learned single Judges of this Court following the decision in Lakshmi Touring Talkies (supra). The Writ Petitions, which have come up for our consideration along with the Writ appeals, are those referred by Learned single Judges for decision by a Division Bench on the ground that the validity of the sub-rule challenged in them, was already pending consideration in Writ Appeal No. 102/1975. Thus, the need to determine the validity of sub-r. (2), Rule 98 of the Rules, by us (the Division Bench) has arisen.

3. Sub-rule (2) of R. 98 of the Rules, the validity of which calls for our determination, reads thus :

'No licence in respect of a site shall be grunted or regranted continuously for a period exceeding one year unless one month has lapsed after the expiry of the said period of one year.'

4. The contentions urged before us by Learned Counsel for the Appellants in the Writ Appeals and the petitioners in the Writ Petitions, the touring cinemas exhibitors (hereinafter referred to as 'the exhibitors'), against the validity of the said sub-rule, and the submissions made on behalf of the State in support thereof admit of the following formulations:

(i) The sub-rule, since imposes a period of limitation in the matter of grant or regrant of a licence in respect of any place on a touring cinema only and not on a permanent cinema, is violative of Art. 14 of the Constitution, in that, there is no reasonable basis for classifying cinemas into touring cinemas and permanent cinemas, which has a rational relation to the purpose of the Act;

(ii) One month's interval fixed under the sub-rule between successive grants of licences of a year is arbitrary and fanciful and therefore the sub-rule offends Art. 14 of the Constitution;

(iii) Requirement of the sub-rule that the Licensing Authority should not grantor regrant to a touring cinema a licence on one and the same site continuously for a period exceeding one year, unless one month elapses after the expiry of one year's period of such licence, being a reasonable restriction needed in the interests of general public within the meaning of Art. 19(6) of the Constitution, the sub-rule is saved from challenge on the ground that it infringes the freedom of an exhibitor to carry on his touring cinema business guaranteed under Art. 19(l)(g) of the Constitution and

(iv) The sub-rule is ultra vires the provisions of the Act and, therefore, is void.

5. As the sustainability or otherwise of the above formulations could be well appreciated in the light of the purposes sought to be achieved by the Act, we shall, here, endeavour to discern such purposes by analysing the preamble to the Act and its provisions.

6. The preamble and S. 23 of the Act , if read together, make it obvious that the Karnataka State Legislature has enacted the Act in the year 1964 to have a uniform law in all the integrated areas of the State of Mysore (now Karnataka), namely, Mysore area, Mangalore and Kollegal area, Belgaum area, Gulbarga area and Coorg area, for regulation of cinematograph exhibitions by licensing of places in which such cinematograph exhibitions could be held having regard to the matters appearing in the Act. While S. 2 of the Act defines various expressions occurring in the Act, S. 3 specifies the Licensing Authority under the Act. While S. 4 prohibits cinematograph exhibition in any place except under a licence, S. 5 makes an exhibition in a place possible, on the basis of a licence obtained by an intending exhibitor from the Licensing Authority specified under the Act. Then, S. 6 requires the licensing authority to take into consideration, before granting or ref using to grant a licence, the interest of the public generally, the suitability of the places where the cinematograph exhibitions are proposed to be given, adequacy of the existing places for the exhibition of cinematograph films in the locality and the benefit of any particular locality or localities to be afforded by the opening of a new place of cinematograph exhibition. Section 7, at the same time empowers the Licensing Authority to limit the number of places that can be licensed in an area. Section .8 refers to the duty of the Licensing Authority in the matter of satisfying itself about the safety, convenience and types of persons who may attend the cinematograph exhibitions in a place before granting a licence to an exhibitor in that regard. Section 9 makes the licence granted under the Act, personal to whom it is granted, unless its transfer or assignment is approved in writing by the Licensing Authority. Section 10 enables a person aggrieved by a decision made under S. 5 or 9 to seek its review before the prescribed appellate authority. Section 11 provides the procedure required to be followed by a person seeking grant of a licence from the Licensing Authority. Section 12 'refers to the power of the State Government to issue directions from time to time to licenses under the Act requiring them to exhibit films having a scientific or educational value or dealing with news or current events; documentary films, indigenous films, or such other films having special value to the public, not exceeding 2000 feet at or more than one fifth of the entire time taken for, any one show. Section 13 refers to the power of Licensing Authority to issue directions to the licencees to exhibit in each show slides of public interest as may be supplied by it provided those slides do not exceed three in number for a show or occupy more than 4 minutes time in a show. Section 14 also refers to the power of the State Government to issue orders or directions of general character in respect of matters relating to licences. S. 15 'empowers the State Government or Licensing Authority to suspend exhibition of films likely to cause a breach of peace in any area. S. 16 authorises the imposition of penalties for exhibition of 'cinematograph in contravention of the provisions of the Act or the Rules or the conditions of the licence. S. 17 emp6wers the Licensing Authority to revoke or suspend a licence under the Act and enables an aggrieved party to appeal before the prescribed authority against such revocation or suspension. S. 18 confers revisional power under the State Government regarding certain matters. Sub-sec. (1) of S. 19 of the Act empowers the State Government to make rules for carrying out the purposes of the Act. Sub-sec. (2) thereof refers to specific matters in respect of which the State Government can make rules under the Act. The matters referred to in cl. (c) of that sub-section, relate to limitation of the period for which licence in respect of any place may be granted for touring cinemas, and prescribing the distance from a permanent cinema beyond which licences in respect of any place for touring cinemas may be granted. Section 20 empowers the State Government to exempt cinematograph exhibitions from the operation of the provisions of the Act. Section 21 provides for punishment of offences committed under the Act. S. 22 requires that every rule made under the Act and every order issued under S. 20 thereof, should be laid before the State Legislature for a period of .30 days.

7. The purposes sought to be achieved by the Act as discernible from the above analysis of the preamble and the provisions of the Act are (a) the regulation of cinematograph exhibitions in the State of Karnataka covering all its integrated areas by providing for licensing of places in which such exhibitions could be held having regard to the locality or localities to be benefited there from (See: Ss. 6(d) and (12) and; (b) the regulation of exhibitions in the State of Karnataka ensuring the safety, convenience and comfort of public who may ,attend those exhibitions.

8. Keeping in view the above purposes of the Act, we shall now deal with the sustainability or otherwise of the formulations in para 4 (supra).

Formulation (i) :

9. It is contended by learned Counsel for the exhibitors that sub-r. (2) of R. 98 is violative of Art. 14 of the Constitution as the restriction that no licence in respect of a site shall be granted or regranted continuously for a period exceeding one year unless one month has elapsed after the said period of one year, contained therein, is directed only against a touring cinema and not a permanent cinema without there being any intelligible differentia which distinguishes a touring cinema from a permanent cinema having a rational relation to the purpose of the Act. This contention of learned Counsel -for the exhibitors, which constitutes formulation (i) in our view, requires to be negatived for the reasons which Ave shall presently state

10. Any classification, which is founded on an intelligible differentia having a rational relation to the purpose of the Statute concerned being a permissible classification, does not violate Art. 14 of the Constitution, is well settled. It should be remembered that it is not the Rules, as such which have classified cinemas as touring cinemas and permanent cinemas. Cl. (c) of sub-s. (2) of S. 19 of the Act, by empowering the State Government to frame rules t6 provide for the limitation of the period for which licence in respect of any place may be granted for touring cinemas and prescribing the distance from a permanent cinema beyond which licences in respect of any place for touring cinemas may be granted, has accorded the legislative recognition to the classification of cinemas as touring cinemas and permanent cinemas. The adjective 'touring' in 'touring cinemas' suggests unequivocally that 'touring cinema' belongs to a class intended for touring, namely, for moving from one place to another. So also, the adjective 'permanent' in cinema' suggests unequivocally that 'permanent cinema' belongs to a class intended to stick on to a permanent place. Sub-rule (2) of R. 89 of the Rules by defining a 'touring cinema' as an outfit comprising the cinema apparatus and plant and the accessories taken from place to place in the State of Karnataka for giving cinema exhibitions or an outfit comprising cinema apparatus and plant taken from place to place in the State of Karnataka for conducting shows in any local theatre or hall puts it beyond doubt that a touring cinema belongs to a well defined class of 'touring cinemas' and cannot be equated to a permanent cinema, which, under the, Rules, could be brought into existence in a permanent place at a huge cost. Thus, when the touring cinemas under the sub-rule belong to a well defined class, it should be held that that classification is rational.

11. What has now to be seen is whether the restrictions imposed on a touring cinema under sub-r. (2) of R. 98 not to grant or regrant a licence for it to run in one and the same place beyond one year without a break of one month, has no rational relation or nexus to the purpose of the Act, as contended for by Learned Counsel for the exhibitors. According to learned Counsel for the exhibitors, when the touring cinema satisfying the requirements relating to safety, convenience and comfort of the public, gives the benefit of cinematograph exhibitions to the public as a permanent cinema does, the sub-rule, which prevents a touring' cinema from exhibiting cinematographs in one and the same place beyond one year without a break of one month, cannot be regarded as one which has rational relation or nexus to the purpose of the Act. This submission of learned counsel for the exhibitors overlooks one of the purposes sought to be achieved by the Act through touring cinemas having given them the legislative recognition.

12. As already pointed out by us, the Act provides for licensing of places in which cinematograph exhibitions are to be held having regard to the locality or localities all over the State to be benefited there from besides taking care of safety, convenience and comfort of the public attending such exhibitions. S. 19(2)(c) is enacted to achieve the purpose of benefiting certain localities through touring cinemas, becomes obvious when it declares that the State Government by rules may limit the period during which a touring cine.-a could run in one and the same place. In other words, the object of this provision, as becomes explicit there from, cannot be anything but to make touring cinemas move from one place to another in the State of Karnataka, so that they may give the benefit of cinematograph exhibitions to various localities in the State, which cannot be benefited by the permanent cinemas involving huge investments. It looks as though touring cinemas are envisaged under the Act notwithstanding their drawbacks and inconveniences in contrast with permanent cinemas, so that they may benefit the localities in the State which cannot be served by permanent cinemas. The State Government, as is seen from the files made available for our perusal at the desire of learned Counsel for the exhibitors,, had, as its object in making the sub-rule, the urgent need of causing touring cinemas move from place to place for benefiting the localities of the State intended to be benefited by them instead of acquiring permanence in a place without the responsibility of providing facilities of a permanent cinema. In this situation, we find it difficult to agree with learned Counsel for exhibitors that the sub-rule has no relation or nexus to any of the purposes of the Act.

13. The above purpose of the Act discerned by us on an analysis of the preamble to and the provisions of the Act and the purpose of the Act is discerned by the Full Bench of this Court in rendering its opinion dated 15-111978 in Writ Appeals Nos. 810 to 813 and 8.77 to 894/1974 : (reported in ILR (1984) 2 Kant 1192), are not different. In that opinion, the Full Bench, while upholding the validity of sub-r. (1) of R. 107 of the Rules, which restricted issue of licences to touring cinemas in places having smaller population, has adverted to the purpose of the Act thus:

'The Rule is evidently to carry out the purposes of the Act, namely, to serve the interest of the public generally and to extend the benefit of cinematographs to places having less than 25,000 population.'

Sub-rule (2) of R. 98, which imposes a restriction in the matter of the duration of a licence of a touring cinema in respect of a place, has, therefore, clearly, rational relation to the said purpose of the, Act, namely, the localities in the State of Kamat4ka to be benefited by touring cinemas. From this, it follows that sub r. (2) cannot be regarded as one which violates Art. 14 of the Constitution.

14. The learned Single Judge, in his order under appeal (W.A. No. 102/75) has rejected the contention of the exhibitors that sub-r. (2) offends Art. 14 of the Constitution, by expressing his. view thus :

'Merely because there is no provision corresponding to sub-r. (2) of amended R. 98 applicable to permanent cinemas, brings, about an impermissible discrimination between permanent cinemas and touring cinemas so as to offend Art. 14 of the Constitution. There is an intelligible differentiation between touring cinemas and permanent cinemas so as to constitute a valid classification between the two and such classification has a reasonable relation to the object of sub-r. (2) of amended R. 98, merely, a touring cinema, unlike a permanent cinema, should not permanently stay in any particular place; but should retain its character as a touring cinema.'

15. Since the said view of the learned single Judge on formulation (i) well accords with the view we have expressed thereupon on an independent examination of the matter, we have no hesitation in upholding the same. Hence, we uphold the said view of the teamed single Judge. Consequently, formulation (i) becomes unsustainable and is answered against the exhibitors.

Formulation (ii) :

16. Learned Counsel for some of the exhibitors sought to show that the sub-rule was arbitrary and fanciful and hence violative of Art. 14 of the Constitution. According to them the period of one month prescribed by the sub-rule as the period during which a touring cinema, should not run in a place after every year of its run, does not have any rational purpose to be served and hence is arbitrary and fanciful. On the contrary, according to the stand taken by the State in its statement of objections, the period of one month so prescribed by the sub rule would, in any event, be necessary for enabling the exhibitors of a touring cinema who would have run it in the same place continuously for one year 'to attend to the .basic requirements of proper maintenance of temporary structures erected for locating the touring cinema etc.' in the interests of public health, safety and convenience. It was asserted for the exhibitors, even if some time was necessary for attending to such requirements of the touring cinema and making it again fit from the point of view of health, safety and convenience of public attending it, after it continuously runs for the years, the period of one month was too long and instead a period of 15 days could have been fixed. As to one month is too long a period or 15 days' period would have been sufficient, is not a matter on which we could speculate. All that we could say in the matter is that the period of one month during which a touring cinema is I required to stop its exhibitions to attend to its repairs, renovation, etc., after it has exhibited continuously for one year, has a rational relation to one of the purposes sought to be achieved by the Act, namely providing for safety, convenience and comfort of the general public attending touring cinema exhibitions, and such requirement cannot at all be regarded as either arbitrary or fanciful. Hence, formulation (ii) is also unsustainable and is answered against the touring cinemas' exhibitors.

Formulation (iii) :

17. Arguments of learned Counsel for exhibitors proceeded thus : - Exhibitors have a fundamental right under Art. 19(l)(g) of the Constitution to carry on their trade or business in touring cinemas. Since the sub-rule prohibits the Licensing Authority from granting or regranting to a touring cinema a licence in respect of a site continuously for a period exceeding one year unless one month has lapsed after the expiry of one year's period of su4iv licence, it has the effect of preventing the exhibitors from carrying on their lawful trade or business in touring cinema and hence is violative of Art. 19(l)(g) of the Constitution. It was stressed that at any rate such prohibition cannot be regarded as a reasonable restriction made in the interest of general public and hence cannot be saved by, CL (6) of Art. 19 of the Constitution. On the contrary, it was argued for the State that there is no prohibition imposed under the sub-rule in the matter of touring cinema exhibitors running their business as such. But. what was imposed on touring cinemas under the sub-rule was a restriction required to serve the purposes of the Act and public interest, and therefore the contention urged on behalf of the exhibitors that the sub-rule was violative of Art. 190)(g) of the Constitution not having been saved by Cl. (6) of Art. 19 of the Constitution is devoid of merit.

18. In the statement of objections filed on behalf of the State, the reasons given justifying the need for the sub-rule, read

'A touring cinema as defined under the rules is a cinema taken from place to place in .the State of Karnataka for giving cinema exhibitions and it is not a cinema permanently located in any place. Unless suitable restrictions are imposed the proprietors of touring cinemas have the tendency to make their touring cinemas permanent, at a locality where they have been granted the licence to exhibit the cinemas without having complied with the requirements of a permanent cinema. But allowing the proprietors of touring cinemas to remain in the same locality for any length of time without any break, it would deprive the other rural areas in the State from having the benefit. of cinematograph shows by touring cinemas in addition to creating problems of public safety, health and convenience as no time would be available to the managements of touring cinemas if allowed to run continuously for a period of more than one year even to attend to the basic requirements of proper maintenance of the temporary structures erected for locating the touring cinema, etc. Besides, permitting the managements of touring cinemas to exhibit shows in the same place for more than one year would result in the monopoly of a particular place to the detriment ,V other touring cinema owners. R. 98(2) is designed to remedy the above said evils flowing from the absence of any restriction on the duration of the licence of a touring cinema at a particular time.'

19. (a). The notings in the files of the State Government made at the time of making the sub-rule and produced for our perusal as desired by learned Counsel for the exhibitors, support the above stand of the State.

(b) The view expressed by the learned single Judge on this controversy, in his order under appeal ( W.A. No. 102/75), reads thus:

'As stated by the Learned Advocate General the restriction imposed by sub-r. (2) of amended R. 98, is intended to ensure that a touring cinema retains its character as touring cinema and does not stay permanently in any particular place. Such restriction is necessary to carry into effect the limitation of the period for which licences in respect of any place may be granted for touring cinemas. as provided in S. 19(2)(c) of the Act. A restriction on, a touring cinema which is intended to preserve its character as a touring cinema and to prevent it from becoming a permanent cinema without complying with the conditions imposed by the Rules on a permanent cinema, cannot in my opinion, be regarded as an unreasonable restriction. Nor can the period of one month provided by that sub-rule as the minimum interval between successive grants of licences to, a touring cinema in respect of the same place be regarded as unreasonably long.'

20. It would be advantageous to refer, at this stage, to the Supreme Court's pronouncements which could be of guidance in dealing with the controversy.

(a) There is no fundamental right in a citizen to carry on a business within the meaning of Art. 19(l)(g) of the Constitution wherever he chooses and his right must be subject to any reasonable restriction imposed by the Executive Authority in public, interest is well settled (See T. B. Ibrahim v. Regional Transport Authority : [1953]4SCR290 ).

(b) In State of Madras v. V. G. Row : 1952CriLJ966 , the Supreme court having pointed out that the Court. while examining an impugned statute from the point of view of reasonableness, should consider not only the factors, such as, duration and extent of restriction, but also the circumstances under which and the manner in which the very imposition has been authorised, has observed as follows:

It is important in this context to bear in mind that the test of reasonableness wherever prescribed, should be applied to each individual statute impugned, and no abstract standard, or general pattern of reasonableness can be 'laid down as-applicable to all cases. The nature of the right alleged to have been infringed, the underlying purpose of the restrictions imposed, the extent and urgency of disproportion of the imposition, the prevailing conditions at the time, should all enter into the judicial verdict. In evaluating such elusive factors and forming their own conception of what is reasonable, in all the circumstances of a given case, it is inevitable that the social philosophy and the scale of values of the judges participating in the decision should play an important part, and the limit to their interference with legislative judgment in such cases can only be dictated by their sense of responsibility and self-restraint and the sobering reflection that the Constitution is meant not only for people of their way of thinking Out for all, and that the majority of the elected representatives of the people have, in authorising the imposition of the restrictions. considered them to be reasonable.' (c) The Court. in considering whether a restriction is reasonable or not, has to bear in mind the background of the facts and circumstances under which the law was made taking into account the nature of the evil sought to be remedied by such law, the ratio of the harm caused to individual citizens by the proposed remedy, to the beneficial effect reasonably expected to result to the general public and whether the restraint caused by law is more than what was necessary in the interest of general public is a well settled test of reasonableness (see : Narendra Kumar v. Union of India : [1960]2SCR375 ).

21. In the light of the above pronouncements of the Supreme Court, we shall now proceed to examine whether the restriction imposed under the sub-rule in the matter of granting or regranting to a touring -cinema a licence in respect of one and the same site continuously for a period exceeding one year unless one month has lapsed after the expiry of one year's period of such licence is a reasonable restriction within the meaning of Cl. (6) of Art... 19 of the Constitution.

22. That the sub-rule is not intended to impose a total prohibition on the running of a touring cinema by its exhibitor becomes apparent from its perusal. All that the sub-rule states is that if an exhibitor of a touring cinema, has, on a licence issued to him under the Act and the Rules, run the touring cinema in a place for a period of one year, he must not be granted or regranted a licence to continue to run that cinema in that very place without a break of one month. In other words, the sub rule says that when an exhibitor of a touring cinema has run it. in a place for 12 months, he should be prevented from continuing to run it in that very place beyond that period without a break of at least one month. According to the learned, Counsel for the exhibitors, when such a break is not required, from the exhibitors who are running permanent cinemas, imposition of such a break on the running of touring cinemas, cannot be regarded as a restriction imposed in the interest of general public and hence not a reasonable restriction, within the meaning of cl. (6) of Art. 19 of the Constitution.

23. The statute, that is the Act itself. by S. 19(2)(c), which is not under challenge, requires the imposition of a restriction relating to the limitation of, the period for which a licence in respect of any place may be granted for a touring cinema. is no longer in dispute. That restriction to be valid must. no doubt fairly and reasonably relate to the purpose' sought to be achieved by the Act, for, in that event only the restriction could be regarded as one made in public interest. Earlier, on an analysis of the preamble and the provisions of the Act, we have found that one of the purposes of the Act is to secure to the public of different localities all over the State the benefit of cinematograph exhibitions. We have also pointed out that cl. (c) of sub-s. (12) of S. 19 is intended to effectuate that (through ?) touring cinemas only. We have further pointed out that a touring cinema is given legislative recognition as such since it can, as a mobile unit. move from place to place in the State of Karnataka and give the benefit of cinematograph exhibiti6ns to such localities in the State which cannot have that benefit of permanent cinemas. Furthermore, this is what is statue by the Full Bench of this Court in its opinion adverted to above, dealing with the purpose intended to be served by the touring cinemas :

'It is evidently intended that the large mass of rural populace' should also have access and the benefit of this source of information and In this view of the matters, it becomes obvious that one of the objects intended to be served by the sub-rule is to make a touring cinema move from place to place, so that the rural population of the State may have its benefit. This is also what has been stated by the State in its statement of objections justifying the sub-rule. The records placed before us by the State Government establish the fact that the State Government, in making the sub-rule in question, had taken note of the fact that touring cinemas, particularly in South Kanara District, had acquired permanence, in that, they had been there in the same places continuously for over 10 to 15 years and that such tendency on the part of touring cinemas to acquire permanence in a- place required to be discouraged, in the interest of general public and for achieving the said purpose of the Act.

24. Thus, when the sub-rule has imposed only a restriction on not running a touring cinema iii one and the same place for more than one year and just for one month, for achieving the said purpose of the Act, namely, of making the touring cinema move from place to place in the State, so that it may benefit the localities intended to be benefited by it, (the Sub-rule) cannot be regarded as containing anything but a reasonable restriction intended to benefit the general public.

25. Another important aspect, which requires our consideration is, whether the interval of one month specified in the sub-rule during which a touring cinema should not run after it runs continuously for one year could be regarded as a reasonable restriction imposed for achieving the health, safety and convenience of general public attending exhibitions in such touring cinemas, a purpose admittedly sought to be achieved by the Act.

26. In its statement of objections, the specific stand taken by the State Government is that touring cinemas if allowed to run continuously for a period of more than one year, there would be no time available for their exhibitors to attend even to the basic requirements of proper maintenance of temporary structures erected for locating the touring cinemas, etc., and it would thus create problems of public safety, health and convenience. According to the State Government, the sub-rule has been designed to remedy the said evil as well. In other words, the stand of the State Government is that the sub-rule under challenge contains a reasonable restriction intended to achieve the undisputed object of the Act, namely, maintenance of health, safety and convenience of the public attending cinematograph exhibitions in touring cinemas. We find merit in this stand of the State Government for the reasons which we shall presently state.

27. A touring cinema building under sub-r. (1) of R. 89 of the Rules includes any booth, tent or similar structure. Under sub-r. (2) of R. 89 thereof, 'touring cinema7 means an outfit comprising the cinema apparatus and plant and accessories taken from place to place in the State of Karnataka for giving cinema exhibitions or an outfit comprising cinema apparatus and plant taken from place to place in the State of Karnataka for conducting shows in any local theatre or hall. For setting up a touring cinema in a place, a licence could be obtained after satisfying the Licensing Authority regarding the condition of building, -materials used in the construction of such building doors and apertures thereof, sanitary conveniences, seats, electrical connections, etc. The very nature of touring cinema and its building suggests that all the facilities to he provided therein would be of a temporary character. The facilities so provided cannot naturally last long, when they are subjected to use, wear and tear. Further, changes in the seasonal conditions in a year are bound to result in deterioration of the facilities which will have been provided in a touring cinema, when set up at the first instance. An exhibitor of a touring cinema cannot postpone attending to the repairs of the building, restoration of temporary facilities, sanitary conveniences, maintenance and restoration of electrical connections, etc for an indefinite period. If rule is made by a rule making authority requiring that an exhibitor of a touring cinema should attend to the repairs of the building, maintenance and restoration of electric connections and other facilities in interests of public safety, health and convenience at least once after one year of its continuous running and for achieving that purpose requires the exhibitor of the touring cinema not to run it just for a month, after its one year` run, it is difficult to regard such restriction as an unreasonable one either from the point of view of duration or extent. Thus when the sub-rule has, for its object, the securing of the health, safety and convenience of public, we consider it proper to hold that the sub-rule contains only a reasonable restriction made in the interests of general public within the meaning of Cl. (6) of Art. 19 A the Constitution. We hold accordingly.

28. As we have held that the sub-rule contains a reasonable restriction within the meaning of Cl. (6) of Art. 19, it follows that the sub-rule is saved from challenge on the ground that it is violative of Art. 19(l)(g) of the Constitution. The view expressed in this regard by the learned single Judge in the order under appeal (W.A. No. 102/75), therefore, does not call for interference. We accordingly sustain formulation (iii) and answer it in your of, the State and against, the exhibitors.

Formulation (iv) :

29. It was urged for the exhibitors that sub-r. (2) of R. 98 could not have been made by the State Government in exercise of the rule making power conferred upon it under S. 19 of the Act and hence was ultra vires the Act. It was explained that when the Act was enacted to regulate cinematograph exhibitions, the State Government could not have made the sub-rule which severely restricts the right of an exhibitor of a touring cinema from running it continuously. We are unable to find any merit in the submissions.

30. Section 19(2)(c) confers a specific power on the State Government in. the matter of making a rule providing for the limitation of the period for which licences in respect of any place maybe granted for touring cinemas. What is provided for under sub-r. (2) of R. 98 is the limitation of the period for which licences in. respect of any place may be granted for touring cinemas. This is also a matter which concerns regulation of cinematograph exhibitions. In this situation, it is difficult to think that the State Government has exceeded its power in making the sub-rule in question. Further, while dealing with the pr6visions of the Act. we have specifically pointed out that the purpose of the Act, as could be seen from S. 0(d) and S. 12 thereof, is also to secure to remote localities in the State the benefit of touring cinemas having regard to their mobility. Furthermore, relying upon the opinion of the Full Bench of our court (ILR (1984) 2 Kant 1192) (supra), we have also specifically pointed out that touring cinemas, in their very nature, are meant to serve the rural population of the State by giving them the benefit of cinematograph exhibition and the sub-rule is made to effectuate that purpose. We have further held that the sub-rule has been made keeping in view the securing of public health, safety kind convenience. In this view of the matters, it is difficult to think that the restriction imposed under the sub-rule falls outside the scope of S. 19(2)(c) of the Act. Hence, the sub-rule is not ultra vires the provisions of the Act. Consequently, formulation (iv) becomes unsustainable an is answered against the exhibitors.

31. In the result we uphold the validity of sub-r. (2) of R. 98, Karnataka Cinemas (Regulation) Rule,1971.ariddismin these Writ Petitions and appeals.

32. Order accordingly.


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