The Madras High Court on Friday directed the Tamil Nadu government to not to allow more than 50 percent occupancy in theatres till January 11. The court gave this direction during the hearing of three petitions challenging a government order allowing 100 percent occupancy in theatres and multiplexes in the state.
A division bench of Justices M.M. Sundresh and S. Ananthi said all petitioners have stated primarily that the state government has increased theatre occupancy from 50 percent to 100 percent despite the Disaster Management Act and the guidelines issued by the Central government.
The Court further said that various communications sent by the national authorities to the state government clearly stated that there should be no violation of the 50 percent number.
The Bench observed that we are facing the coronavirus epidemic, in such a situation, it is not appropriate to take such a decision. When Additional Advocate General Shricharan Rangarajan informed the court that the state government was considering the matter and sought time to give clear instructions in this regard, the court did not allow the government to allow more than 50 percent of the number till January 11.
On January 5, the Union Home Secretary sent a communication to the Chief Secretary of the state to act as per the guidelines, after the government ordered to increase the number of people in theaters.
The judges on Friday asked the state government to consider the suggestions given by the petitioners so that the number of shows could be increased without increasing the number of people. Along with increasing the show, the number of breaks should also be increased, so that sanitizers can be sprayed.
The matter is adjourned for next hearing till January 11.