Andhra Pradesh Government Monopolizing Online Movie Ticketing? KyaZoonga Unmoved [Updated]

Updated (12 May): We have received the following statement from BookMyShow. Clearly there is anger amongst the affected parties for unjustified move by the State Government. Also, given that the designated benefiting party, Galaxy Entertainment, has suspended business, who is really gaining from such orders?

G.O. Ms. 110 dated 19.02.2009 (the order passed by the Home Department) has been stayed by an order of the High Court passed in several writ petitions filed by entities involved in online movie ticketing. Bigtree has a status quo order dated 24 March 2009 in its favor by the Hon’ble High Court of Andhra Pradesh pursuant to which online movie ticketing was being continued to be provided  by BookmyShow. The matter is subjudice.

However, for reasons best known to the State Government, despite the stay granted by the Hon’ble High Court, the home department has taken a view that certain websites do not have valid interim orders of the High Court and they are harassing the officers of online movie ticketing entities, which is not ethical.

Bookmyshow was running under the status quo granted by the Hon’ble High Court. The reports that are been appeared are incomplete to the extent that, whilst there is a mention of the monopolistic nature of G.O. Ms. 110, the reports are silent that the constitutional validity has been challenged and the Hon’ble High Court has stayed the same till final disposal of the cases before it.

Further, we fully agree with the questions raised by media including, inter alia, as to the motive and intent of the State Government in issuing a privilege to just one entity and as to why the Hon’ble High Court’s status quo order is not being honored by the State Government.

Earlier: We reported the ban of online movie ticketing in Andhra Pradesh yesterday and got to know a very interesting attempt by the state government to monopolize the whole ticketing business. Rama Raju R, CEO of Gap Miners Pvt. Ltd., the company that runs the movie booking site NoMoreQueue informed that Government of Andhra Pradesh had passed an order to allow only one company to sell online tickets for all cinemas. It was also mandated that all cinemas must provide atleast 50% inventory to this company to sell online.

The company that was awarded the 5 year contract was Galaxy Entertainers Pvt. Ltd. owned by a certain N V Ramana Babu. The ministry of corporate affairs’ site says that the company is now dormant. Copy of Govt. Order

We went to court contesting the GO 110, that it amounts to monopolizing the entire business. BookMyShow, NoMoreQ.com, EasyMovies (the pioneer in selling tickets in India through agents) and Film Chamber of commerce are the parties who went to Court. Court stayed the GO and granted the status quo. Lawyers interpreted that as GO 110 superseded GO 47 both are not applicable till the court delivers its verdict.

Based on the court stay order, we have resumed the operations.

Of late, a unscrupulous lawyer started creating the trouble by filing police complaints and cases in courts against online ticketing companies and theatres who open their inventory for online ticketing. As a result a whole set of fresh confusion is created and nobody in the government or police seems to have clarity in this matter and have instructed the theatres not to do online ticket booking

We are yet to know the what is happening in this case if the company has gone dormant. Certainly, something that government is doing sounds unjustified. There was also a regulation for the service charge. The regular service charge for online movie booking is Rs.15 but AP govt. is restricting it to Rs.6.

If you are from the state and wanting to book your tickets online, hop on to KyaZoonga.com as they are still selling the tickets and at a service charge of Rs.15. Why isn’t order applicable to them?

What’s your opinion? Do drop a comment if you know more about the issue.

[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He writes at The Inspire Blog]