HC admits cinema owners’ plea on screening rules
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday admitted the petition filed by the Cinema Owners’ and Exhibitors’ Association, challenging the government’s decision on compulsory screening of Marathi films in multiplexes.mumbai Updated: Jun 16, 2010 01:40 IST
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday admitted the petition filed by the Cinema Owners’ and Exhibitors’ Association, challenging the government’s decision on compulsory screening of Marathi films in multiplexes.
The high court has temporarily ordered cinema owners to show 44 Marathi films in a year till a final decision is taken.
A division bench of Justice F.I. Rebello and Justice R.V. More admitted the petition.
The high court had earlier asked the government and the cinema owners to sit together with Marathi film producers and solve the controversy over the compulsory exhibition of Marathi films in theatres.
The Cinema Owners’ and Exhibitors’ Association approached the high court in December 2008.
The petition challenges a 40-year-old government rule that makes it compulsory for theatres to screen Marathi films for at least four weeks in a year.
The government circular was issued in 1968.
However, it was implemented only in 2007, “under pressure from the Marathi film producers’ lobby,” alleges the petition. Moreover, the petition contends that Marathi film producers do not offer commercial rates to book theatres, though they get huge subsidies from the government.
The petitioners argued that they were willing to show 28 shows of a Marathi film a year.
“Four weeks in a year is unfeasible. Four weeks add up to 112 shows a year,” their counsel Viraj Tulzapurkar said.
“Many theatres like Eros and Regal are running empty,” he added.
Besides, they claimed that not many Marathi films were produced in a year.
The 1968 circular making screening of Marathi films compulsory was issued to encourage ‘indigenous films’.
However, the association took a stand that the term ‘indigenous’ meant ‘locally-made films’ but the government placed only Marathi films in that category.
On the other hand, the government claimed that only 20 out of the 178 owners had a problem in exhibiting Marathi films. The government even issued show-cause notices, which were given to 70 owners for not complying.