Only the Commissioner of Police can accord licences to run cinema halls in the national capital, city police on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court as it contested a notification by the AAP government.
Challenging an AAP government's notification which empowers District Commissioners of Revenue Department to issues licences to cinema halls, an affidavit by a Joint Commissioner of Police said since Delhi was a Union Territory (UT) akin to a presidency town, the licensing powers were vested with the Commissioner of Police, as per the Cinematograph Act.
The affidavit filed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said the Delhi government, which presides over a Union Territory, cannot appoint a licensing authority.
"As per the Act and the provisions of the Constitution of India, there is no scope/permissibility for anyone to contend that power/jurisdiction to grant licence to cinema owners in Delhi would vest with any officer of the Delhi Government.
"Such a power/jurisdiction under the Act can only be exercised by Commissioner of Police and or any subordinate officers in Delhi Police approved by administrator being the Lieutenant Governor," the police said in the affidavit.
The bench was hearing a plea filed by an association representing cinema hall owners of the city which said according to the Cinematograph Act, 1952, the district commissioners were responsible for grant of licences.
It said after the Cinematograph Act, Delhi Police Act of 1978 was enacted and the power to grant the licence was shifted to city Police Commissioner. Through the notification issued by the Delhi government in January the power to grant licence has again being given to district commissioners.