Andhra Pradesh High Court stays online sale of cinema tickets by government platform

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The HC has restrained the government from going ahead with the sale of cinema tickets through an exclusive portal which it planned to launch, till July 27. A Division Bench led by CJ Prashant Kumar Mishra and consisting of Justice D.V.S.S. Somayajulu issued an interim order thereto effect on Friday.

They said the ultimate hearing would be persevered the above date and a standing quo is required till then to handle all the questions of law raised within the writ petitions.

It may be noted that the Multiplex Association of India, Bigtree Entertainment Private Limited (BookMyShow) and Vijayawada Exhibitors’ Association have challenged the proposed launch of a government-run ticket-booking platform, saying that it'll render private ticket booking businesses commercially unviable. the most argument is that the ticket aggregators should do their business subject to a full lot of terms and conditions laid down by the govt, which deprive them of tier playing field.

The very action of the govt. in arising with a portal of its own will infringe on the aggregators’ freedom to trade enshrined within the Constitution, the petitioners said.

In its order, the HC said the problems raised by the petitioners, like whether the State under the AP Cinema Regulation Act, 1955 has the facility to manage the incidental services being rendered to the cine-goers by third party aggregators, and whether or not they (the petitioners) may be asked to sell tickets only through the gateway provided by the AP State Film, Television and Theater Development Corporation, needed to be discussed at length.

While observing that a clear case has been made out, the HC said greater harm are caused to the petitioners if the interim order isn't granted at this stage, and postponing the problems till the ultimate adjudication will cause no loss to the govt or to the cine-goers.