Matters that come first should be given priority, Madras HC delays the hearing on full occupancy of Cinema Hall

Background

In an order dated 4th January, 2021, the Tamil Nadu Government’s recent pertaining to the seating capacity of movie theatres and multiplexes. The Government allowed the order of 100% occupancy in cinemas after being persuaded by the requests of prominent Kollywood actors including Vijay Sitambarasan.

Contention of the Petitioner

1. In light of the present situation of COVID-19 that the country finds itself in and how the new order goes against the norms and precautions that must be maintained.

2. The closed environment of a cinema hall where air conditioning is used, and people sit in close proximity with each other, can be hazardous when seating is allowed in maximum capacity.

3. This precarious situation would cause an increased risk of transmission of the virus and cause an unnecessarily imposed burden on the medical staff that are already in duress.

4. This new order would result in a serious threat to the life of the people of Tamil Nadu.

5.Moreover, the order also finds itself in direct contravention of the Union Health Ministry’s guidelines for COVID-19, wherein only up to 50% of the seating capacity is allowed in theatres and multiplexes, which are located outside containment zones.The petitioner, Advocate PS Prabhu, tried to move the petition on the urgent basis.

Stand of the Court

The bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthikumar Ramamoorty was of the view that the system should be where matters that come first should be given priority, and later matters should be heard later.

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