Ramazan sanctity law: Plea seeking closure of Cineplex dismissed

Published: July 1, 2016
Judge says no bar on screening movies during daytime in Ramazan.

Judge says no bar on screening movies during daytime in Ramazan.

ISLAMABAD: A civil judge dismissed on Thursday a petition seeking closure of a multiplex during fasting hours under the Ehtaram-e-Ramazan law.

The petitioner contended that the Centaurus Cineplex was violating the law by screening movies during daytime in the month of fasting.

He argued in the petition that he was visiting the Centaurus Mall on June 20 when he came to know that the cinema was screening films during daytime “in violation of the Ehtram-e-Ramzan Ordinance”. Syed Bilal Ahmad said on June 20, he asked the cinema house staff to stop the screening of films but they didn’t. He also approached the culture ministry secretariat and requested them to bar the multiplex from screening films before Iftar but no action was taken.

The petitioner also produced booking tickets before the court showing movie times in the afternoon and prayed the court to direct the owners to close the cinema during fasting hours.

Centaurus Cineplex in Islamabad issued notices for screening movies during fasting hours

Civil Judge (West) Mian Azhar Nadeem admitted the instant petition on June 24 and issued notices to the cinema owner, the government and the police.

On Thursday, Raja Zafar Khaliq, counsel for the Cineplex, told the court that the multiplex was abiding by the law and had never violated it. He told the court that the cinema was not screening any movies during three hours after Iftar as the law specifies.

According to Section 6 of the Ehtram-e-Ramzan Ordinance 1981 “All cinema houses, theatres and similar other establishments or institutions shall remain closed during the month of Ramzan from the time of sunset to the expiration of three hours thereafter.”

The judge observed that since the cinema was not screening films during three hours after Iftar, no violation of the law had been committed.

After hearing arguments of the defendant, the court dismissed the petition describing it “infructuous”.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Faisal Chaudhry, a high court lawyer  said the law states that cinema houses should remain closed for three hours, after sunset, only during Ramazan. They can operate during the daytime according to the law, he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2016.

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