OF REFERENCE TO DIVISION BENCH
Dated 15th April 1975
per Jagannatha Shetty J.
The primary contention arising for consideration is whether the District Magistrate while considering the application for regrant of licence under Rule 105 could take into consideration any of the representation from the public touching upon the matters which are relevant for granting ' No Objection Certificate...the decision of Chandrasekhar, J., in SRI LAKSHMI TOURING TALKIES (A.I.R. 1975 Karnataka 37 - 1975 (1) K.L.J. 419), proceeds on the basis that the District Magistrate at the time of regrant is required to consider only the matters relevant for the regrant of licence,...that when once a 'No Objection certificate has been granted, the question whether the requirements of Rule 107 have been satisfied or not cannot be gone into at the time of regrant of licence ....But, the observation of Malimath J. in Madanaik's case gave an indication that it is open to the District Magistrate to take into consideration any of the representations relating to the matters which he ought to take into consideration at the time of granting 'No Objection Certificate.
(REFERRED TO DIVISION BENCH)
Order of Reference by Division Bench.
Dated : 13th August 1975
Chandrasekhar and Venkataswami, JJ.
per Chandrasekhar, J.
Apart from conflicting rulings of this Court, an important question of public interest arises, in our opinion, for determination in this Petition, and we consider it fit to refer that question to a Full Bench. That question is :
'If the Licensing Authority had granted a No Objection Certificate for running a touring cinema in a particular site and had also subsequently granted a licence to run that touring cinema, can the Licensing Authority, while considering an application for re-grant of that licence after the expiry of the period of original licence, re-examine the question whether the location of that touring cinema in that site satisfies the requirements of the Karnataka Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1971'?
OPINION OF THE FULL BENCH
Dated 1st September 1978
per Jagannatha Shetty, (Venkatachaliah, J. concurring)
From the provisions of the Act, the legislative purpose is clearly intelligible, that was, to regulate the cinematographic exhibitions at suitable places in different localities having regard to the interest of the public generally, and the benefit to any particular locality or localities to be afforded thereon.
Rules 105, 99 and 98 (2) are dovetailed with each other and the combined effects of these rules are as follows : A licence to a touring cinema may be granted for a period less than one year. If the licensce stops exhibition for one month immediately after one year continuous period, his licence may be granted or regranted for a further period subject to the other conditions being satisfied, but that further period also should not exceed one year at a time.
If a camp site licensed for one year is to be made use of for the second year, one must apply for 'NOC' in respect of that site. When such an application is made, the action of the Licensing Authority is not automatic as in the case of a renewal. It must be satisfied that the site continues to conform to the requirements of clauses (h) to (k) ofsub-rule (1) of Rule 27 and of Rule 107. If it is satisfied after inspection or by such other inquiry that the site continues to conform to the prescribed conditions, it may adopt a summary procedure dispensing with theprocedure provided by sub-rules (1) to (3) of Rule 96. But it cannot grant 'NOC' unless the site continues to conform to the requirements of law. Again, if the same site is to be made use of for the third year, a fresh 'NOC' is also necessary, but it cannot be granted upon summary enquiry as in the case of a second year. The Licensing Authority must follow the regular procedure prescribed by-sub rules (1) to (4) and it has nooption in this regard. The sub-rule thus requires a fresh 'N0C' for the second or third year in respect of a camp site although a licence has been granted in the first year - the proviso to Rule 88 must be read subject to the limitation imposed by Rule 96 (5) and both must be read as part of an integral scheme for grant and regrant of licence to a touring cinema. Otherwise it will lead to confusion and friction into the working of the System....Public interest will be better served if the requirements of Clauses (h) to (k) of sub-rule (1) of Rule 27 are strictly complied with every year in respect of a camp site.
Rule 105 does not provide for renewal of licence. Renewal means merely a continuation of the licence originally issued. But that is not what is intended under Rule 105. It provides for regrant of licence-Regrant of a licence in the context of the scheme of the Rules cannot be other than a fresh grant. Therefore, it is imperative that the Licensing Authority must satisfy itself before regranting licence whether the camp site continues to conform to the requirements of law. Rule 105 providing for regrant may be silent as to the production of 'NOC', but it does not mean that the Licensing Authority with impugnity, could regrant licence to the prejudice of the public when the site in question does not conform to the requirements of law....The enquiry as to the suitability of the site, however, is not required to be made if the original grant was for a period less than one year and regrant is sought for a further period upto one year from the date of initial grant. But if the original grant was for one year and regrant is sought for a further period, then the Licensing Authority must insist on the production of a fresh 'NOC'. It cannot regrant licence for a period beyond one year without a fresh 'NOC'.
per Rama Jois, J.
The regrant contemplated by Rule 98(2) is only in continuation of the grant and not an independent regrant and further as the rule is concerned with the location of the site the word 'regrant' in this rule also means a grant made under sub-rule (1) to a different person in continuation of the earlier grant as regrant under this sub-rule has reference to the site ...... According to Rule 99, the maximum period of life of a touring cinema licence either by an initial grant or by an initial grant for any shorter period and regrant or regrants for any period or periods, as the case may be, is one year. In other words, regrant contemplated under Rule 99 is not an independent regrant like a regrant of licence to a permanent cinema.
The requirements for an application for regrant in sub-rule (2) of Rule 105 indicates that it covers all the certificates mentioned in Rule 97 except the NOC. Sub-rule (3) of Rule 105 provides that on receipt of the application for regrant made under sub-rule (1) of the said rule, the Licensing Authority may after such enquiry as it deems necessary but subject to Rule 99, regrant the Licence. From the provisions of Rule 105 (2), it is clear that there is no requirement for the production of a 'NOC' along with an application for regrant. But, at the same time sub-rule (3) makes the power of the Licensing Authority to regrant the Licence expressly subject to the provisions of rule 99. The effect of Rule 99 is that the maximum period of life of a 'touring cinema's licenee, is one year. Therefore, there can be no question of regrant of a Licence of a touring cinema under Rule 105 if the initial period of the grant of Licence was itself for one year or in a case where the initial grant was for a period shorter than one year, the said period coupled with the subsequent period or periods of regrant together comes to one year..... sub-rule(2) of Rule 98 concerns with the Licence to be taken with reference to the location of the site of a touring cinema. This rule is complementary to Rule 96 (5). The provisions of sub-rule (2) of Rule 98 imposes a separat and additional requirement which has bearing on the question of requirement of a fresh ' NOC ' under Rule 96 of the Rules. Rule 99, however, concerns with the Licence for the exhibition of a touring cinema granted to an individual. From the wording of that rule, it is clear that the maximum life of such licence is one year. If it is granted in the first instance itself for one year, the licence comes to an end after the expiry of one year from the date of grant and there is no power to renew or regrant it for any further period as the power under Rule 105 to regrant a touring cinema Licence is made expressly subject to Rule 99 under Rule 105 (3). But if the initial grant is for a shorter period, then the grantee can seek regrant under Rule 105 for further period or periods subject to the maximum period of one year from the date of grant. The regrant of a touring cinema licerce granted in the first instance under Rule 99 for a period shorter than one year, is in effect a continuation of the grant for a further period...Rule 96 (5) read with Rule 98 (2) and Rule 99 restricts the maximum period for which a licence can be granted for a touring cinema on the basis of a 'NOC' to one year and also insists on a break of one month before grant of fresh licence in respect of the same site, so that the person concerned may apply for a fresh 'NOC' which enables the authorities to ensure the public iuterest required to be safeguarded by Rule 27 (1) (b) to (k)and also to ensure compliance to Rule 107. In order to mitigate any hardship that may be caused to the concerned licencee, a summary procedure for grant of 'NOC' for the second time is prescribed in Rule 96 (5) of the Rules.
Answer : (to the question referred) :
(i) The scope of Rule 105 is limited to an application for regrant of a licence of a touring cinema only in cases where the period of initial grant or the period of initial grant and the subsequent period of regrant or rcgrants falls short of one year.
(ii) Rule 105 of the Rules does not require the production of a 'NOC' along with an application for regrant of a touring cinema licence and also does not provide for examining as to whether the site continues to conform to the requirement of Rule 27 (1) (h) to (k) and Rule 107 of the Rules, before making a regrant.
(iii) Every application for regrant of a touring cinema licence has to be considered by the Licencirg Authority on production of only those certificates as are referred to in sub-rule (2) of Rule 105 of the Rules and the enquiry permitted by sub-rule (3) of Rule 105 of the Rules is also confined only in respect of matters covered by those certificates.
OPINION OF THE COURT
The Licencing Authority while considering an application for regrant of a licence to a touring cinema, is not required to re-examine whether the site where the touring cinema has been located, satisfies the requirements of the Karnataka (Cinemas) Regulation Rules, 197!, if the original grant of licence was for a period less than one year and regrant is sought to be granted up to one year from the date of the original licence. But if regrant is sought for a period beyond one year from the date of the original grant, then the Licensing Authority must examine the question whether the site where the touring cinema has been located satisfies the requirements of the Karnataka Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1971. It cannot regrant licence for the second year without the production of a fresh ' NOC '. It cannot also regrant licence for the third year without a fresh ' NOC ' in respect of the site in question.