Citing an April 4 government order barring cinema halls and ticket booking websites from charging money they are not entitled to from movie-goers,a city-based lawyer Sunil Lulla has filed a PIL in Bombay High Court seeking the implementation of the order and a direction to recover the amount charged as Internet handling and service fees for online ticket booking.
The PIL names government authorities such as the revenue commissioner and the city collector as well as leading online ticketing website http://www.bookmyshow.com and multiplexes including Inox,Big Cinemas,Fun multiplexes,Globus Cinema,Fun Multiplexes and Big Cinemas among respondents.
While Lulla was booking movie tickets online on April 16 for the movie Chasme Baddoor at Sterling Cinema in CST,he was charged Rs 180 per ticket of which Rs 13.48 was the internet handling fee and on April 17,Big Cinemas charged him Rs 328.09 for his tickets of which Rs 28.09 was the convenience charge for online booking.
The PIL filed through the law firm Naik Naik and Company,Lulla has said he sent notices to the multiplexes named as respondents on April 17 asking them the reasons for unauthorised charging of fees for Internet bookings. The PIL said he received a reply from Sterling multiplex that said they could not find a copy of the government order and requested Lulla for a copy.
Lulla,however,contended that despite the order of April 4 that restrains cinema halls from charging patrons extra for online bookings,no action has been taken by the government authorities against websites and cinema halls that continue to charge the fee.
Online ticket booking facility is as convenient,beneficial and favourable to theatre owners and operators as it is for viewers. Therefore,the charging of convenience fee / service fee / internet handling fee to the cinema patrons is unfair,unreasonable and unjustified,in addition to the same being unfair in view of the said order (of April 4), Lullas PIL states.
The PIL says theatres in the state have collected over Rs 5 crore annually through Internet booking charges.