Parking rates fixed at cinemas too low, says Madras High Court – The Hindu

Chennai News

Holding that the State government had fixed “very low” vehicle parking charges of ₹20 for cars and ₹10 for two-wheelers in cinemas, the Madras High Court has directed it to revise the charges after taking into account the hourly charges levied by the civic bodies.

Justice R. Subramanian issued the direction while allowing a 2017 writ petition filed by Woodlands Theatres at Royapettah in Chennai. The theatre management had challenged a Government Order issued of November 30, 2017, fixing ₹20 for cars and ₹10 for two-wheelers for the entire duration of a feature film.

The petitioner’s counsel S. Ravi told the judge that the High Court in 2010 upheld the validity of Rule 91(B) of the Tamil Nadu Cinemas Regulation Rules, 1957, which empower the State government to fix parking charges. While upholding the validity, the court directed the government to fix the rates after hearing the cinema owners. Accordingly, the government fixed ₹20 and ₹10 for cinemas located in corporation limits and special grade municipalities; ₹15 and ₹7 in other municipalities and ₹5 and ₹3 in town panchayats and village panchayats.

However, the cinema owners, in a representation to the government on July 14, 2017, had pointed out that the vehicle parking charges at the Puratchi Thalaivar M.G. Ramachandran Chennai Central Railway Station was ₹50 an hour for premium parking space and ₹25 an hour for ordinary space. Similarly, ₹25 was being collected for parking cars at Flower Bazaar.

Stating that the parking rate at the airport was ₹150 an hour and the T. Nagar Panagal park it was ₹50 for first two hours, they wanted commensurate charges to be fixed for cinema cinemas too. The cinema owners contended that there could not be a difference between charges levied by them and the government entities.

“On a comparison of the charges that have been levied by the Corporation and the railway authorities for parking in public places, I find that the fixation of ₹20 for a four-wheeler for the entire duration of the film and ₹10 for two-wheeler is very low,” the judge said and ordered refixation of the rates.