T. Ramaprasada Rao, C.J.
1. The appellant before us in objecting to the grant of a 'no objection certificate' to the first respondent for conducting a cinematographic exhibition after having obtained a 'no objection certificate under the Tamil Nadu Cinematograph Act. The appellant, who is a competitor running a touring cinema objected to the grant of a 'no objection certificate' to the first-respondent, who is an independent touring cinema owner on the ground that that projected is likely to be situate within, the prohibited distance thus of lending the rule of distance provided for in Rule 14(2) and (3) of the Tamil Nadu Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1957. The second ground of attack is that the first respondent originally gave the survey number of the property ire which his touring cinema is to be situate as one number, but later on, it transpires that on a sub-division a different survey number was given to the site on which the cinema is to be located and that, therefore, there is no re-application of the mind by the appropriate authorities in the matter of the suitability of the site. The Collector and the Board, who were the competent authorities under the Act, made the grant in favour of the first respondent. This was challenged by the appellant under Article 226 of the Constitution before V. Ramaswami, J. The learned Judge, after going through the records, held that the rule of distance was not offended and that the licence was granted for the location of the touring cinema on site which was taken on lease by the first respondent and which was localised by the authorities, He, therefore, dismissed the writ petition. As against this, the present writ appeal has been filed.
2. Mr. Kanakaraj, learned Counsel for the appellant, strenuously contends that it is common for the people in the locality, for whose benefit and recreational advantage the cinema was licensed, to use always the nearest pathway to the site in question by crossing the railway line and if the distance between the-existing touring cinema and the proposed site is taken through the railway line it would offend the rule of distance under Rules 14(2) and (3) of the above rules. Stress is made on the words 'generally used by the members of the public' in Rule 34(3) and it is contended that wherever there is proof that fee-members of the public were using a pathway, whatever may be the nature of that pathway, it ought to be the pathway which should be reckoned for purpose of finding out the distance contemplated in Rule 14(3). Reliance is placed upon the inspection report which is extracted in the Collector's order which says:
At the time of my inspection, a large number of people had gathered at this site and made a request that they need a cinema nearby their huts for purposes of recreation. There are no habitations near about this site and the audience will have to go across the railway line from the outskirts of the Tuticorin village and some colonies situated on the same side of the railway line.
The inspection report, according to the learned Counsel, lends support to his contention that the members of the public were passing through the railway line to reach the site in question and if measured in that direction, the no objection certificate ought not have been granted. There is a fallacy in this contention because, what is contemplated in Rule 14(3) is that the distance between the cinemas in any place or in adjacent places shall be reckoned along the shortest pathway, etc., which is generally used by the members of the public. It cannot be comprehended that the shortest pathway referred to in Rule 14(3) would also include a pathway used by the public which would invariably result in trespass over public or private property. It is not in dispute that if the contention of the learned Counsel were to be accepted, we would be first licensing trespass on public property before we can reject the application for no objection certificate of the first respondent. 'As Courts of law, administering law in its strictest sense, cannot make exception to well-known principles that no one can be licensed or permitted to trespass on others properties, whether public or private, it would be a travesty if we accept the contention and hold1 that the distance in this case has to be measured not by the usual general pathway, which would be by going around the station, but by, the pathway which the public were using by committing unadulterated trespass on public property. It is conceded that the distance between the existing touring cinema and the proposed site if contoured through the railway line would offend the rule of distance but not otherwise. But as Courts cannot bless the action of the public in committing trespass on public property so as to come to the conclusion whether the distance rule is offended or not, we are Unable to accept this contention. As a matter of fact, the competent authorities have expressed the view that the distance between the existing touring cinema theatre and the proposed touring cinema, if measured along a pathway which is generally used by the public and which does not involve a trespass on railway line, would not offend the rule of distance. In these circumstances, we are unable to agree with the learned Counsel on the first contention. In so far as the second contention is concerned, there is no dispute that the property was subdivided after the application was made by the first respondent for the grant of the no-objection certificate. At or about the time when the application was made, the first respondent gave one survey number. Later on, due to-sub-division and in order to localise the site which was taken on lease by him for purposes of cinematographic exhibition, the site bore a different survey number in the sense that subdivision number ought to have been given to the parent number. That would not mean that the application suffers from a material defect which was not noticed by the appropriate authorities. As the learned Judge has pointed out, the localisation of the site was made on the basis of the lease of the land taken by the first respondent for purpose of exhibition. No doubt, this leased land, formed part of the bigger survey number, and after sub-division, it bore a number different from the one given by the applicant in the first application. This was a matter which was exclusively for the authorities to consider and they having localised the site, no objection can be taken at this stage by a competitor in order to undo the grant made by the-competent authorities under the Act and approved of by this Court at the stage when, a rule nisi was asked for to quash the grant. The second objection also fails.
3. In the result, the writ appeal is dismissed.