State to regulate food prices at cinema halls

If multiplexes can prohibit outside food, then they can’t sell it inside: HC

Mumbai: Noting that the cost of food and water inside multiplexes is exorbitant, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday said they should be sold at regular prices. The State government informed the court that it is working on formulating a policy to regulate food prices being sold inside theatres.

A Division Bench of Justice S.S. Kemkar and Justice M.S. Karnik was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Jainendra Baxi. The PIL said the restriction on bringing food by cinema goers violates the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution, which particularly affects the elderly and persons with medical conditions. The petition also highlighted the illegal hawking in cinema hall auditoriums, which violates rule 121 of the Maharashtra Cinema (Regulation) Rules, 1966.

The petitioner’s lawyer, Aditya Pratap, said food and water is sold at a high price and that there is no legal or statutory provision that prohibits one from carrying personal food or water inside movie theatres.

Justice Kemkar said, “The price of food and water bottles sold inside movie theatres are, indeed, exorbitant. We have ourselves experienced it. You (multiplexes) should sell them at regular prices.”

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

Government pleader Purnima Kantharia said the State is likely to frame a policy within six weeks, after taking into consideration suggestions submitted by the petitioner and the Multiplex Owners’ Association, a nationwide body of cinema theatre owners. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on June 12.

In the previous hearing, the HC instructed the petitioner to submit suggestions which the government can incorporate in the cinema licence conditions to ensure that no multiplex or cinema hall stops people from carrying their own food inside.

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 9:33:36 PM |

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