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1970 (9) TMI 116

J.L. Hathi, K.N. Bhat, and K.L. Hathi, Advs. JUDGMENT J.C. Shah, J. 1. The respondents in this appeal carry on the business of exhibiting cinematograph films in a theatre named Krishna Cinema at Rajkot. On a plot of land adjacent to the Krishna Cinema the respondents desired to construct "an annexe" for exhibiting foreign films with independent screen and auditorium. On May 14, 1963 the respondents applied to the District Magistrate [who is the Licensing Authority under the Bombay Cinemas (Regulation) Act 11 of 1953] for a 'no objection certificate' to the user of the "annexe" to be constructed on the site for exhibiting cinematograph films. On the same day they submitted to the Executive Engineer plans of the proposed building of "annexe" to be used as a cinematograph theatre. They also applied to the local Municipality for leave to construct a building to be used for cinematograph theatre. The Municipality sanctioned construction of the building. The Executive Engineer also signified his assent by letter addressed to the Additional District Magistrate to the grant of a "no objection certificate." 2. By an application submitted on Ma .....

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ition of cinematograph films and licensing of places for such exhibition is governed by the Bombay Cinemas (Regulation) Act 11 of 1963. By virtue of the provisions contained in the Bombay State Reorganisation Act, 1960, the Act and the Rules are applicable to the territory of the State of Gujarat. By Section 3 of the Bombay Cinemas (Regulation) Act, 1953, "save as otherwise provided in the Act no person shall give an exhibition by means of a cinematograph elsewhere than in a place licensed under the Act or otherwise than in compliance with any conditions and restrictions imposed by such licence". In the town of Rajkot, by virtue of Section 4(3) of the Act the District Magistrate is the Licensing Authority. By Sub-section (1) of Section 5 the Licensing Authority is prohibited from granting a licence unless it is satisfied that the rules made under the Act have been substantially complied with and adequate precautions have been taken in the place, in respect of which the licence is to be given, to provide for the safety of persons attending exhibition therein. By Section (2) subject to the provisions of Sub-section (1) and to the control of the State Government the Licensin .....

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hin such extended period as may be allowed by the Licensing Authority. 5. Under the Act the District Magistrate is, in places where there is no Commissioner of Police, constituted the Licensing Authority. By Section 5 the power of the Licensing Authority is subject to the control of the State Government. Authority to license a cinematograph theatre is therefore vested in the Licensing Authority subject to the overriding control of the State Government. It is difficult to appreciate what purpose may be served by giving a right to appeal to the State to a person aggrieved by the order of the Licensing Authority, if the original order is made under the direction and subject to the control of the State Government. A right of appeal under Section 8A against the order of the Licensing Authority issued under the order of the State Government is a futile formality and serves no useful purpose. Power to issue, revoke or suspend a licence conferred upon the District Magistrate is exercisable on satisfaction of that officer of certain objective conditions and is plainly quasi-judicial. But exercise of power by the Licensing Authority to grant a licence is still made subject to the control of .....

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ce the Rajkot Municipality sanctioned construction of the "annexe" by the respondents by letter dated May 28, 1963 and the Executive Engineer by letter dated September 13, 1963 informed the Licensing Authority-copy of which information was sent to the respondents-that the former had "no objection to issue sanction for the construction of "annexe" to the existing Krishna Cinema". It was also recorded in the letter that the respondents had agreed to carry out modifications in the plan AS may be suggested by the Executive Engineer. At the foot of the letter was a note that "the suggestions in accordance with the Bombay Cinema Rules, 1954" were being forwarded to the respondents separately. 9. The respondents then applied by letter dated January 2, 1964 to the Licensing Authority that the "annexe" had already been constructed and the sanction to use it as a cinematograph theatre may be granted. The "annexe" complied with all requirements of the rules, but by letter dated July 9, 1964 the Licensing Authority under the instructions of the State Government informed the respondents that "application for constructing a permane .....

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