Monday, 9 April 2018

Food Items And Bottled Water Should Be Sold At Regular Prices Inside Multiplexes: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court has ruled that food items and bottled water be sold at regular prices inside multiplexes. The directive was issued by a division bench of Justices S.M. Kemkar and M.S. Karnik last week in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Mumbai resident Jainendra Baxi. He had challenged the prohibition on carrying outside food in movie theatres and multiplexes across Maharashtra.

The petitioner’s lawyer, Aditya Pratap Singh, told the Bombay court that there was no legal or statutory provision that prohibited a person from carrying personal food articles or water inside movie theatres.
Agreeing to this, Justice Kemkar observed: “The price of food and water bottles sold inside movie theatres are, indeed, exorbitant. We have ourselves experienced it. You (multiplexes) should sell it at the regular price.”

The petitioner argued that the Maharashtra Cinemas (Regulation) Rules prohibit hawking and selling food inside theatres and auditoriums. “This rule is openly flouted by cinema halls with several stalls selling food and beverages. New theatres also have buttons right on the seats that enable viewers to call for a waiter, order food, and have the same delivered to the seats.”

The Bombay high court said that if multiplexes were prohibiting people from bringing outside food, then there should be a total prohibition on eatables. “Then you (multiplexes) cannot have your own vendors selling food and other snacks inside,” said Justice Kemkar.

The government pleader, Purnima Kantharia, told the court that the state would soon frame a policy on the issue, after taking into consideration the suggestions of the petitioner and the Multiplex Owners’ Association (MOA). The MOA is a nationwide body of cinema theatre owners. The policy is likely to be framed within the next six weeks, she told the court. The bench will now hear the petition on 12 June.

The petitioner claimed that restrictions on bringing outside food to theatres, particularly affected the senior citizens and people who cannot eat the food sold at the multiplexes for medical reasons. It said that the only concern for the cinema hall owners, its managing authorities, and the state must be to ensure that no safety or security rule was breached by the public visiting the theatres.

In an earlier hearing on the matter, the Bombay High Court had remarked that the concern of the security staff at theatres should be limited to frisking the public for dangerous possessions: “You have metal detectors to check for unauthorised or dangerous possessions such as knives and arms. The guards also frisk the public entering the theatres, check their purses and bags, then what is the need to remove all their food items and ask them to purchase food items from the theatres?

Source - Gconnect