Madras HC quashes GO fixing charges for parking in cinemas

On a comparison of charges that has been levied by the Corporation and the railway authorities for parking in public places, the judge said that the fixation of Rs 20 for a four wheeler for the entire duration of the film and Rs 10 for two wheeler, is very low.
Contending this rate is very low, the petitioner moved the High Court.
Contending this rate is very low, the petitioner moved the High Court.

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has set aside an order of the Tamil Nadu government fixing parking fees in cinema theatres, saying the rates fixed therein were low.

Justice R Subramanian quashed the GO dated November 30, 2017 of the Additional Chief Secretary, Home (Cinema), while allowing a writ petition from Woodlands Theatres in Royapettah recently.

A division bench of the High Court, while upholding the original Act fixing parking fees, had directed the government to re-fix the rates after hearing the objections from the theatre owners. It is pursuant to this direction, the impugned GO was issued fixing the parking charges in November, 2017.

The charges were fixed as Rs 20 for cars and three wheelers and Rs 10 for two wheelers in Municipal Corporation/Municipalities Special grade. It is Rs 15 and Rs 7 respectively for theatres in Municipalities other than Special Grade. It is Rs 5 and Rs 3 for town and village panchayats. No fee is fixed for cycles.

Contending this rate is very low, the petitioner moved the High Court.

Allowing the petition, the judge observed that even in the representation of the cinema theatre owners sent to the government in July 2017, it has been pointed out that the parking rates in every other places except cinema theatre is higher.

It is Rs 50 per hour in Chennai Central Station (premium), Rs 25 per hour in the same station (ordinary), Rs 25 in Flower Bazaar area, Rs 50 for first two hours in Panagal Park and Rs 150 for per hour in the city Airport. These were the charges levied by the Chennai City Municipal Corporation and the railway authorities even in 2017.

On a comparison of the charges that has been levied by the Corporation and the railway authorities for parking in public places, the judge said that the fixation of Rs 20 for a four wheeler for the entire duration of the film and Rs 10 for two wheeler, is very low.

The judge also pointed out that the Bench had directed the government to issue a positive direction to fix reasonable rates after taking into account the views of the stakeholders.

The order impugned does not reflect the views of the stakeholders.

A specific averment is made in the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition to the effect that the charges are too low when compared to the parking fees levied by the Corporation and other Municipal Authorities even during the year 2017.

Even in the counter filed in this writ petition there is no reference to the charges levied by other authorities and the counter is silent about the claim of the petitioner that the other authorities viz., Municipalities and Railways are charging much higher parking fee.

The allegation in the affidavit made on a comparative analysis remains un-controverted, the judge said and quashed the November, 2017 order with a direction to the government to re-fix the parking charges by taking in to account the charges levied by the Corporation and Municipalities for their facilities.

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