Decided on November 22,1963



- (1.) The petitioner is the proprietor of a permanent theatre called Vel Talkies for cinematograph exhibitions, situate at Uthukottai, Trivellore taluk, State of Madras. This theatre was licensed to operate from 15th March, 1959. Before that, in the years 1957 and 1958 the petitioner was running a touring cinema, and it was in the year 1959 that he constructed the permanent theatre in Uthukottai. At that time, the adjoining village of Desikuppam (Dasukuppam) also was in the Madras State. But, by the Andhra Pradesh and Madras (Alteration of Boundaries) Act (Act LVI of 1959) the village of Desikuppam became part of the State of Andhra Pradesh.
(2.) On 1st March, 1962, one Munirathnam, the proprietor of a touring cinema called Raja Talkies, applied to the District Magistrate, Chittoor, for licence to run a touring cinema in Survey Nos. 21/5, 21/6-A and 21/6-B in Desikuppam village. This locality appears to be at a distance of about three furlongs from the permanent cinema belonging to the petitioner and situated in the adjoining village of Uthukottai. On 1st March, 1962, the petitioner submitted objections to the Secretary to Government of Andhra Pradesh, Home Department, Hyderabad, to the grant of licence to the third respondent for running a touring cinema in the adjoining village of Desikuppam. The main objection to the grant of the licence was on the ground that, the locality in which the touring cinema is sought to be run is only at a distance of three furlongs from the petitioner's permanent theatre at Uthukottai and that if licence is granted to the third respondent, it would cause severe loss to the petitioner. It was also pointed out that as per the existing Rules, there should be a minimum distance of one mile as between a permanent theatre and a touring cinema in the same village, and two miles if they are situated in different Panchayats, and that the grant of licence to the third respondent will be opposed to the Rules relating to the grant of a licence.
(3.) The petitioner received from the Government of Andhra Pradesh, a communication, dated 23rd July, 1962 intimating that the Government sees no sufficient justification to comply with the petitioner's request, the specific request in the objections, dated 1st March, 1962 filed by the petitioner being that the Government will be pleased to issue necessary instructions to the licensing authorities not to entertain any licensing to the said touring cinema, Raja Talkies, Desikuppam. This reply of the Government of Andhra Pradesh also shows that the petition of the third respondent for a licence was allowed. It is on receipt of that reply from the Government of Andhra Pradesh that the petitioner has filed this Writ Petition in this High Court on 23rd August, 1962, praying for the issue of a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ or order or direction, directing the District Collector, Chittoor, to forbear from issuing licence under the Madras Cinemas (Regulation) Act of 1955 for the touring cinema of the third respondent, and in case such a licence had already been issued, to direct the first respondent to cancel the same. But, the licence n this case was issued to the third respondent by the District Magistrate even on 22nd August' 1962 i.e., a day prior to the riling of this Writ Petition and it appears from the counter filed by P. Munirathnam on behalf of the third respondent that, though he got the licence in his favour on 22nd August, 1962 he was given Electricity power supply connection on the evening of 25th August, 1962 and he was able to start the cinema shows on 26th August, 1962. Pending this Writ Petition, C.M.P. No. 7842 of 1962 was filed for an injunction and an interim order of injunction was passed on 24th August, 1962, which was received by the third respondent on that date itself. But, subsequently, the order of interim injunction was withdrawn.;

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