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K.V. Mathew Vs. District Manager, Telephones, Ernakulam and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.P. No. 153 of 1981-P
Judge
Reported inAIR1984Ker40
ActsTelegraph Act, 1885 - Sections 7
AppellantK.V. Mathew
RespondentDistrict Manager, Telephones, Ernakulam and anr.
Appellant Advocate M.K. Chandramohan Das and; D. Krishna Prasad, Advs.
Respondent Advocate P. Santhanlingam, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredMother Provincial v. State of Kerala
Excerpt:
- - --it may be well to consider, first, what is the meaning of the word 'institutions' as used in the section. that is certainly a well-recognised meaning of the word......lord herschell observed thus:--'it may be well to consider, first, what is the meaning of the word 'institutions' as used in the section. it is a word employed to express several different ideas. it is sometimes used in a sense in which the 'institution' cannot be said to consist of any persons, or body of persons, who could, strictly speaking, own property. the essential idea conveyed by it in connection with such adjectives as 'literary' and 'scientific' is often no more than a system, scheme or arrangement, by which literature or science is promoted without reference to the persons with whom the management may rest, or in whom the property appropriated for these purposes may be vested, save in so far as these may be regarded as a part of such system, scheme, or arrangement. that.....
Judgment:
ORDER

V. Bhaskaran Nambiar, J.

1. The petitioner, a Proprietor of a Cinema theatre, applied for a telephone connection and deposited a sum of Rupees 1000/- for the purpose. He claimed preference under Non-OYT special category and it was rejected by order dated 13-10-1980 (Ext. P-7) on the ground that Cinema Talkies/Theatres are nut eligible for special category. The petitioner seeks to quash Ext. P-3 and pray for consequential reliefs.

2. Executive instructions have been issued by the Postal Department from time to time regarding allotment of telephones under the OYT, Special and General categories.

3. Under OYT (Own- your Telephone)scheme, an applicant

'makes an advance lump sum payment in the form of advance payment of part of the rent for certain number of years. The subscriber gets a rebate and is liable to pay less rent than the normal rent fixed by the Department.'

4. Under Non-OYT scheme,

'an applicant makes an advance deposit, the amount depending upon capacity of the exchange. When a telephone is sanctioned, this deposit is adjusted towards security deposit, advance quarterly rent and installation charges. The subscriber is liable to pay normal rent fixed by the Department.' The petitioner, admittedly has applied only under the Non-OYT scheme. Applications are registered under several categories and Non-OYT special is one category consisting of

'For Doctors holding recognised degrees or diploma in any approved system of medicine, or surgery, qualified nurses and registered mid-wives.

Newspapers, journals and magazines, registered with Registrar of Newspapers, registered News Agencies, Accredited PressCorrespondents and Press Photographers.Public Institutions.Small Scale Industries.Public Men, Social workers and Tamra Patraholders.

Foreign exchange earners when OYT is not open.'

Is cinema a public institution

The House of Lords in Mayor & C., of Manchester v. Meadam (Surveyor of Taxes), (1896 AC 500) had to consider the meaning of the expression 'literary institutions'. Lord Herschell observed thus:--

'It may be well to consider, first, what is the meaning of the word 'institutions' as used in the section. It is a word employed to express several different ideas. It is sometimes used in a sense in which the 'institution' cannot be said to consist of any persons, or body of persons, who could, strictly speaking, own property. The essential idea conveyed by it in connection with such adjectives as 'literary' and 'scientific' is often no more than a system, scheme or arrangement, by which literature or science is promoted without reference to the persons with whom the management may rest, or in whom the property appropriated for these purposes may be vested, save in so far as these may be regarded as a part of such system, scheme, or arrangement. That is certainly a well-recognised meaning of the word. One of the definitions contained in the Imperial Dictionary is as follows: 'A system, plan, or society, established either by law, or by the authority of individuals, for promoting any object, public or social.'

Lord Macnaghten expressed thus :--

'It is a little difficult to define the meaning of the term 'institution' in the modern acceptation of the word. It means, I suppose, an undertaking formed to promote some defined purpose having in view generally the instruction or education of the public. It is the body (so to speak) called into existence to translate the purpose as conceived in the mind of the founders into a living and active principle. Sometimes the word is used to denote merely the local habitation or the headquarters of the institution. Sometimes it comprehends everything that goes to make up the institution -- everything belonging to the undertaking in connection with the purpose which informs and animates the whole. A public library may. I think, be properly called an 'institution' in that sense.'

Chief Justice Raman Nayar in Mother Provincial v. State of Kerala, 1969 KLT 749 : (AIR 1970 Ker 196) (FB) observed (paragraph 46):

'As we have seen, even what is called a private college is realy a public institution in the sense that it serves the public, and its proper running is a matter of public importance.'

In the Oxford Dictionary, 'institution' is defined as 'an establishment, organisation or association instituted for the promotion of some object especially one of public utility, religious, charitable, educational etc.'

5. By an amendment dated 18-2-1980 (Ext. R-1) Public Institutions are described thus by the Department :--

'Public Institutions: Only those institutions run by public funds and for the benefit of general public are eligible e. g., recognised schools and colleges, registered trade unions, registered co-operative societies (other than those for sale of commodities), registered house building societies, orphanages or institutes for blind and physically handicapped, leper houses, public hospitals, family planning association of India and their branch office, recognised political parties (recognised by the Election Commission), social organisations, etc. Maximum of two telephones -- one at the office of the organisation arid one at the residence of an executive may be registered under this category. Each Unit of a recognised political party or public institution be treated as a separate entity.'

6. In view of Ext. P-1, the contention is advanced that the petitioner has applied for a telephone connection for a public institution and he is thus entitled to be treated as special category. This take us to the question raised whether cinema theatre is a public institution. The petitioner is only an individual, not an institution. His cause is personal, not public. Me carries on business to make profit. The profit he makes is his private property, not for public account. Cinema is a place of public resort. But all pubic places are not institutions. The word 'institution', of course, is not capable of precise definition. It should in large measure have an enduring value. It does not represent the need of the hour, but the need of all time. The public has an abiding interest in the maintenance and preservation of an organisation or establishment which is an institution. It cannot be the momentary or fleeting interest of the public which sustains this organisation. Institution has deeper and permanent value in society. A cinema which can be closed to the public whenever the owner chooses cannot be exalted to the status of an institution.

7. The description of public institution in the guideline of the P. & T. Department or the examples cited therein cannot convert a cinema, private enterprise to a public institution. The word 'et cetera' therein on which the petitioner's counsel stressed cannot also advance his cause. 'Et cetera', according to the Oxford Dictionary means,

'And the rest and so forth and so on, indicating that other things which can be inferred are included in the statement; usual additions.'

'Etc.' therefore does not share the character of an inclusive definition and cannot therefore enlarge the scope of the expression, 'institution'. Cinemas are not comprehended within the expression 'public institution' for the purpose of allotment of telephone.

8. The petitioner has to stand in queue along with the rest of the applicants unless he desires to own one under the 'Own your Telephone' (OYT) Scheme.

No rights of the petitioners are infringed and no merits in the O. P. The O. P. is dismissed. No costs.


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