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R.M. Sundaram Vs. the Board of Revenue, Madras and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Appeal Nos. 473 and 474 of 1976
Judge
Reported inAIR1978Mad101
ActsTamil Nadu Cinemas (Regulations) Rules, 1957 - Rule 79A
AppellantR.M. Sundaram
RespondentThe Board of Revenue, Madras and ors.
Appellant AdvocateK. Alagiriswami and ;P. Chidambaram, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateGovt. Pleader
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....is issued. on the facts of this case, the authorities will necessarily have also to be satisfied that the specific condition imposed that the theatre should be 'sound proof should also be satisfied......in the penultimate para. we shall extract that sentence: 'but the question as to whether a semi permanent theatre could be constructed with sound proof system in the face of the existing rules has not been gone into by the board of revenue before the objections of the school authorities are really overruled.' 2. to understand this question, we shall state the necessary facts. the appellant before us in these two writ appeals applied as envisaged by rule 35 of the tamil nadu cinemas (regulation) rules 1957, for a no objection certificate under rule 36 and in form no. b. this application was objected to by the respondent in w. a. 473 of 1976 who runs a convent school in the vicinity of the place where the semi permanent theatre was sought to be established by the appellant, and.....
Judgment:

P. Govindan Nair, C.J.

1. This is the final stage of a bottle that has been waged before the Collector, before the Board of Revenue and before a single Judge of this court. The question in those appeals is a very simple one and has been posed by the learned Judge in the judgment under appeal in one sentence in the penultimate para. We shall extract that sentence:

'But the question as to whether a semi permanent theatre could be constructed with sound proof system in the face of the existing rules has not been gone into by the Board of Revenue before the objections of the school authorities are really overruled.'

2. To understand this question, we shall state the necessary facts. The appellant before us in these two writ appeals applied as envisaged by Rule 35 of the Tamil Nadu Cinemas (Regulation) Rules 1957, for a no objection certificate under Rule 36 and in form No. B. This application was objected to by the respondent in W. A. 473 of 1976 who runs a convent school in the vicinity of the place where the semi permanent theatre was sought to be established by the appellant, and also by a rival operator of a theatre, who is the respondent in W. A. 474 of 1976. The school contended that the establishment of a semi permanent theatre would disturb the working of the school and cause inconvenience not to say nuisance to the inmates of the school, which consisted of Nuns and the students of the school. The respondent in W. A. 474 of 1976 apparently motivated by the possibility of adverse effect on his income by the coming into existence of yet another theatre also raised his objections. All objections were overruled by the Collector excepting the one raised by the school that disturbance and inconvenience would be caused to the inmates of the school from the sound emanating from the theatre to be established. To prevent this disturbance he imposed a condition in the no objection certificate that the theatre to be constructed must be sound proof. Such a condition could be imposed and the form of the certificate, form B, itself envisages special conditions being imposed. No point was made before us that there is any invalidity in imposing such a condition. Appeals were taken by the respondents in these two appeals before the Board of Revenue and one of the grounds taken in the appeal was whether it was possible to establish a sound proof semi permanent theatre 'in accordance with the existing rules.' The appeals which contained other grounds as well were dealt with on the merits and were dismissed by the Board of Revenue. But the Board of Revenue did not specifically express any opinion on the ground whether it is possible to establish a sound proof semi permanent theatre in accordance with the rules. It was in these circumstances, that the learned Judge made the observation which we extracted earlier in this judgment. As a result of that lacuna this court ordered--

'The order of the Board of Revenue is, therefore, set aside with a direction to pass fresh order on the appeal after considering the question whether it is possible to adopt the sound proof system in a semi permanent theatre.'

Before us fairly elaborate arguments were addressed by the appellant's counsel and by counsel for the respondents. It is unnecessary to deal with all these arguments for the appeals have to be disposed of on the interpretation to be placed on Rule 79-A (4) (d). We shall presently deal with this question. But before doing so, we must mention that the no objection certificate issued to the appellant does not by itself entitle him to a licence in form C and without such a licence he will have no authority or right to establish a semi permanent theatre. Counsel for the appellant is well founded in his submission that the issue of a C form licence is an essential requirement to enable the appellant to establish a theatre. He is also well founded in his submission that the question whether he had complied with the condition imposed in the N. O. C. that the theatre to be established should be sound proof will have to be necessarily gone into before the issue of the licence and it will be open to the appellant to prove to the authorities that he has made the theatre sound proof; and it would be equally open to the respondents in these appeals to try and show to the authority that the condition had not been complied with. We are further inclined to agree with the contention of the appellant that to consider the question whether the theatre to be established would be sound proof in the abstract without there being either a plan or the building itself in existence would be an enquiry in the abstract which can only result in speculations.

3. The scheme of the Act and the rules indicate double procedure. First, there should be a preliminary investigation as to whether a no objection certificate should be issued. This procedure ends with the grant of no objection certificate under form B or a refusal to do so, after a consideration of the points mentioned in Section 5 (1) of the Act, and if and when a no objection certificate is issued the procedure for the issue of a licence in form C would commence on an application with plans and further details of the particular structure to be made in accordance with the rules applicable for the establishment of a semi permanent theatre being presented. At this stage too objections can be raised and those objections will have to be considered by the authorities and the authorities have to be satisfied that the Act and the rules have been complied with before the C form licence is issued. On the facts of this case, the authorities will necessarily have also to be satisfied that the specific condition imposed that the theatre should be 'sound proof should also be satisfied. This stage has not been reached and the question cannot possibly arise now. We must, therefore, confine our attention now to the question whether the grant of a no objection certificate to the appellant subject to the condition that the semi permanent theatre should have a sound proof system is in order and is in accordance with law and more specifically, whether, as the learned Judge posed the question in the judgment under appeal, a semi permanent theatre could be constructed with sound proof system in the face of the existing rules.' The learned Judge apparently had Rule 79-A (4) (d) in mind. And no other rule was relied on or referred to in the course of the arguments which would prevent the construction of a sound proof semi permanent theatre. We shall now extract that sub-rule:

'(d) The side walls of the main building shall be dwarf walls 1-05 metres high plastered with lime mortar or mud over which durable black canvas or tarpaulins curtains shall be provided so as to shut off light and afford shelter from rain'.

While the respondents' counsel contended that the semi permanent theatre can only have walls 1-05 metres high and cannot therefore be sound proof, the appellant's counsel contended that what is insisted upon by the sub-rule is the minimum requirement of a semi permanent theatre. He highlighted this argument by pointing out that the rule has provided that the walls have to be plastered with lime mortar, or mud and urged that this provision would not prevent the walls being plastered with cement or constructed in any other manner more substantial than by plastering with mortar and lime or mud. It was pointed out that if the walls were cement plastered for instance, it could not be said that the rule has been violated. If his submission on this aspect is correct, he urged that the provision in the clause that the walls are to be dwarf walls of 1-05 metres in height is also a requirement insisted upon as a minimum requirement and that would not preclude the aspirants for a licence from making the walls higher. We think that the rule insists only on a minimum requirement for a semi permanent theatre. The role cannot be interpreted to mean that the theatre cannot be made more comfortable or that it cannot be more substantial or more ornamental, or sound proof or that if he is willing to take the risk, of losing money, cannot be constructed as required for a permanent theatre. We are unable to agree with the argument of counsel for the respondents that if the minimum requirement of the rule is exceeded that would amount to a violation of the rules. So as a matter of interpretation of the rules, we have no hesitation in holding that it would be possible under the existing rules to establish a sound proof semi permanent theatre, which can be in existence only for five years. The licence granted under Rule 79-A would automatically cease to exist at the end of five years. This is the most important feature of a semi-permanent theatre.

4. With great respect we are unable to agree with the learned Judge. Naturally, the question will depend on the nature of the structure that is constructed. This question cannot be answered in the abstract. We have no doubt that this can be considered only at a later stage after the plans and the details of the building are furnished or even after the building is constructed, but before the issue of a licence. We make it clear that it will be open to the parties to raise this question as to whether the theatre proposed to be established or constructed could be or is 'sound proof as required by the no objection certificate. We have already held that the rules do not stand in the way of a semi permanent theatre being made 'sound proof'.

5. In the light of the above discussion, we allow the appeals, set aside the judgment under appeal and dismiss the writ petitions subject to the condition that it will be open to the appellant to establish before the authorities that the theatre that he has constructed or proposes to construct is or will be sound proof and it will be equally open to the respondents in these appeals to try and show that the theatre is not 'sound proof'. The authorities will have to consider specifically and deal with their contentions and it would certainly be open to the authorities either to grant or refuse the C form licence depending on the question whether the theatre is sound proof or not.

6. We direct the parties to bear their own costs throughout.


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