Smt. Roshan Dalvi, J.
1. The Petitioners are producers of films in Marathi language.
2. The State Government has framed various schemes for providing financial assistance to Marathi films by various Government Resolutions (GRs) issued from time to time.
3. The Petitioners claim their right of financial assistance under the G.R dated 6th November, 2003, Exhibit- A to the Petition.
4. Under the said G.R financial assistance upto Rs.15 lakhs is granted to producers of quality Marathi films ?as per the Recommendation of the Film Review Committee, as per serial number, in accordance with the Rules and as per availability of finance ?. Financial assistance grantable under the said G.R is upto the maximum of Rs.15 lakhs in 3 installment s as stated therein.
5. The Producer must produce his first film with his own finance. The 2nd and subsequent films are eligible for the assistance. The producer must obtain Censor Board Certificate by 31st December of the relevant year in which he applies for the grant. He should submit the cassette or C D of the film to Dadasaheb Phalke Chtranagari (the Chitranagari) by 15th Janua ry of the following year. The Chitranagari is required to inspect and recommend the film to the Film Review Committee by 31st Janua ry of that year. The final Government decision is to be taken upon the submission of the film and the Recommendation by 31st March of that year. No waiting list was to be maintained.
6. It is, therefore, seen that a time- bound schedule is laid down under the said G.R. The time schedule is required to be followed by the producers, the Chtranagari as well as the Review Committee.
7. The Petitioners 1 and 2 obtained the Censor Board Certificates issued in respect of their fitness on 15th September, 2004 and 31st December, 2004 respectively. They submitted their C.Ds /Ca s s et tes before the scheduled date. The Petitioners were not granted any assistance or communicated the Government decision of 31 st March 2005, which was the last date for the grant / decision, given that no waiting list was to be maintained as expressly laid down in the G.R dated 6th November, 2003.
8. The Government, instead, sought to act under a later G.R passed on 11 th October, 2005, Exhibit- B to the Petition. Under the said G.R the previous G.Rs including the G.R dated 6th November, 2003 were superseded. The Scheme under the G.R dated 11th October 2003 for grant of financial assistance to film producer s in Marathi language was modified from the date of that Resolution.
9. Hence for applications for Government assistance for production of quality Marathi films, which were made from 11th October 2005, the said G.R dated 11th October 2005 would be applicable.
10. Under the G.R dated 11 th October 2005 films were classified under 'A', 'B' and 'C' categories for the grant of Rs.20 /3 0 lakhs, 15 lakhs and 5 lakhs respectively.
11. The films of both the Petitioners have been classified in 'C' category. In the contention of the State that the Petitioners have, therefore, become eligible for the Government assistance of Rs.5 lakhs each under the G.R dated 10th November 2005 . The Petitioners claim an assistance of Rs.15 lakhs each upon the recommendation of the Chitranagari of their respective films under the G.R dated 6th November 2003 as the Petitioners had applied for the grant under that G.R in compliance with its directions and within the time schedule specified therein.
12. The Petitioners contend that they were entitled to be communicated the final Government decision by 31st March 2005. The Respondent s failed to so communicate. The Petitioners were on the wait- list of the Respondent s, which the Respondent s failed to clear. The Respondent s, therefore, cannot claim to be governed by the subsequent G.R which was not in operation until the last date of the time schedule which the Respondent s were meant to comply. Mr. Bandiwadekar, on behalf of the Petitioners rightly contended that though the G.R dated 11th October 2005 were expressly made prospective, the reliance of the Government upon that G.R for the films of the Petitioners which were submitted well prior to the date of its passing, made it retrospective in operation. Retrospective operation of such a G.R is impermissible except when there is an express provision of retrospectivity. The G.R dated 11th October 2005 is made expressly prospective and hence inapplicable to the case of both the Petitioners.
13. The State Government has relied upon a letter dated 8th March 2006 issued by the Department of Cultural Affairs to the 2nd Respondent s containing explanatory / clarificatory instructions for the grant of financial assistance to classic Marathi films. Under the said letter a distinction is made between the films watched by the earlier Scrutiny Committee and the films, pending for being watched, though received before the passing of the G.R dated 11th October 2005. The former are directed to be covered by the G.R dated 6th November 2003 and the latter by the G.R dated 11th October 2005.
14. As the Petitioner's films, though duly submitted as per the time schedule set out in the G.R dated 6th November 2003 were pending scrutiny and recommendation and the final decision of the Government , they came to be considered under the later G.R dated 11 th October 2005 and were certified to be in 'C' category as ?per the new scheme ?.
15. The Petitioners contend that the clarificatory letter dated 8th March 2006 is not a notification issued by the Government under Act 166 of the Constitution of India for the conduct of the business of the State Government and hence cannot override the G.Rs dated 6th November 2003 and 11th October 2005. Mr. Bandiwadekar drew our attention to the case of Trimbak Sangramappa Kadge Vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors. 2003(2) Bom.C.R.231 in which the Division Bench of this Court has held that clarifications issued by the Government under a circular, which are administrative in nature, cannot nullify, alter, vary or supersede the terms of a G.R. Further it is also been held by the Apex Court in the case of Central Bureau of Investigation Vs. Ravi Shankar Srivastava IAS and Another (2006) 7 Supreme Court Cases 188 that an interdepartment al letter was not a Notification under Act 166 of the Constitution and could not rescind an earlier Notification.
16. It is contended by Mr. Apte on behalf of Respondent s 2 and 3 that the Petitioners' action lacks bonafides as the Petitioners applied for tax exemption under the G.R dated 11th October 2005 and then contended its non- applicability to their case. The Petitioners have denied this fact in their affidavit in rejoinder. The G.R dated 6th November 2003 does not make any reference to tax exemption. No earlier G.R dealing with tax exemption is shown. The Reference to Tax Exemption in the G.R dated 11th October 2005 is only thus:
?Decision regarding tax exempt ion from entertainment duty ? Not relevant.?
17. Mr. Bandiwadekar contended that tax exemption was always available to Marat
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hi film producer s in earlier G.Rs. If that is so, tax exemption could be availed of by the Petitioners. If not, the Petitioners would be liable to entertainment tax, which may be charged / deducted. 18. In this Petition, the Petitioners have made out a case for grant of an appropriate Writ to consider the Petitioners films for recommendation by the Chitranagari and final decision by the State Government under the G.R dated 6th November 2003. 19. The impugned decision of the Respondent s under the G.R dated 11th October 2005 is set aside. 20. It is, however, clarified that no specific direction for sanction and payment can be issued in favour of the Petitioners as prayed for. 21. In the circumstances, there shall be no order as to costs.