New Delhi: The Madras High Court on Friday reduced the seating capacity in cinema theatres back to 50 per cent till January 11, days after the Tamil Nadu government permitted full capacity in view of the new films of superstar Vijay and Silambarasan Thesingu Rajendar that will release for Pongal festival in the upcoming week. The court also asked the state government to respond to the decision.Also Read - Section 144 Imposed In Gautam Buddh Nagar Till August 31. Full List of Restrictions Here

The Madras HC decision comes in view of the growing criticism against the Palanisamy government for allowing 100 per cent occupancy in cinema halls despite the coronavirus outbreak. Also Read - Fourth Covid Wave? India’s Daily Case Zooms Past 17K-Mark; Kerala, Maharashtra Among Top Contributor

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs also reminded the state government recently that it cannot dilute COVID-19 guidelines regarding theatre occupancy without prior permission of the Centre. Also Read - World's First Tamil Bible Stolen From Thanjavur Traced In King George III Museum In London, Being 'Brought Back'

Notably, Vijay starrer Master is all set to hit the big screen on January 13, while Simbu’s Eeswaran will release on January 14.

As on Thursday, Tamil Nadu reported 805 fresh COVID-19 cases taking the tally to 8,23,986, while the death toll increased to 12,200 with 12 more fatalities.