It will be imperative upon all multiplexes and theaters in the state to set up their websites for facilitating online sale of movie tickets without levying additional convenience charge, by April 1.
The state revenue department has issued an order to this effect in keeping with the latest directives issued by the Bombay High Court. Onus also lies on managements of multiplexes and theaters to publicise the online facility via advertisements in newspaper and other media, a Government Resolution (GR) issued on Tuesday stated.
The Bombay High Court had earlier this month asked the Maharashtra government to issue a circular to all movie theatres and multiplexes to set up websites and provide online ticket booking facility without levying convenience charge.
In fact, the state government had last April issued orders prohibiting levy of extra charges on sale of online tickets by private web portals to whom the work of online ticket sale was outsourced. The decision, however, was challenged in court by a section of the entertainment industry. One Sunil Lalla had filed a public interest litigation in court, seeking implementation of last year’s orders.
Pushkaraj Chaphalkar, partner of CityPride Multiplexes, said he has initiated efforts towards setting up an online facility for the sale of movie tickets. “The online portals to whom sale of movie tickets online has been outsourced have stopped levying convenience charge for the past six months. It is up to the firms running these portals to decide whether to take the matter further or not,” he said.
Further hearing on the said petitions is scheduled on May 5.
The government has asked divisional commissioners to submit reports to the revenue department about measures taken by multiplexes and theaters towards setting up the online ticket selling facility by April 2.
Entertainment Duty Officer with Pune District Collectorate, Mohini Chavan, said the latest GR will be communicated to owners of multiplexes and theaters in the district at the earliest.
Meanwhile, movie buffs have hailed the latest development. “It is good news for movie-lovers. Having dedicated websites for multiplexes, which would not levy extra charge for ticket booking, will benefit us,” said Rohini Mule, a home-maker.