RCB to take legal action against cinema
RAWALPINDI: The Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) has decided to take legal action against a new cinema on The Mall in Saddar.
During a meeting chaired by RCB Cantonment Executive Officer Sabtain Raza, officials discussed the illegal cinema, Odeon Gold, which opened in Kohistan Towers on The Mall.
The original 121-year-old Odeon Cinema was located next to RCB offices and was managed by the Lansdowne Trust. The trust was set up in 1897 and established a cinema, park and library, but the cinema has been closed for 15 years.
A senior RCB official told Dawn that according to the Cinematograph Act, the owner requires permission from the civic body to establish a cinema, which the new cinema had not done.
RCB officials received complaints regarding the presence of the cinema, he said, and when the staff checked their records they found that they had not received an application for a yearly licence for the cinema.
The matter was brought to the RCB cantonment executive officer, who directed for a show-cause notice to be sent to the cinema. He said the owner of the cinema has to submit permission from the censor board before exhibiting a movie.
The official said the national anthem also has to be played before a movie is screened, and if this is violated the civic body is bound to stop movies from being exhibited. Owners also have to submit a guarantee not to screen any vulgar items.
“The civic body will the cinema owner 15 days to get a licence and submit the censor board’s certificate for movies exhibited at the cinema. If they failed to get permission, the cinema will be sealed,” he said.
When contacted, RCB spokesperson Qaisar Mehmood confirmed that the RCB had declared a cinema illegal and said a formal notice would be delivered to the owner on Monday, after the Muharram holidays.
He said the Kohistan Towers building was approved by the RCB, but the owner did not seek a licence to exhibit movies at the cinema. He said all the cinemas in the cantonment areas receive annual licences.
The RCB has the authority to seal the cinema if it failed to seek prior permission from the civic body and the censor board’s certificate before screening a film.