It has been ruled by the Bombay High Court that Food items and bottled water should be sold at regular prices inside multiplexes.
Last week, in a response to Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a Mumbai resident Jainendra Baxi, the division bench of Justices S.M. Kemkar and M.S. Karnik issued this directive. Baxi had challenged the prohibition of carrying outside food to movie theatres across Maharashtra.
Aditya Pratap Singh, the petitioner's lawyer, informed the court that there was no legal or statutory provision prohibiting a person from carrying personal food items or water to a movie theatre.
Justice Kemkar agreed to it saying, "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 further argued that the Maharashtra Cinemas Rules prohibits hawking and selling food inside theatres, yet the rule is openly broken by cinema halls, who have multiple stalls for food and beverages. Some of them also provide food right in the seats of the cinema halls.
The court then said that if outside food was not allowed, there should a total prohibition on of eatables in cinema halls, which means even multiplexes cannot sell their own food or beverages.
The petitioner also said that the restriction on outside food inside theatres affected senior citizens and people who cannot eat food served inside the multiplexes due to dietary concerns. The earlier hearing on the matter included the argument that a security guard in the theatre should only be concerned with the public breaking safety rules and not ask them to remove all food items carried by them.
The government pleader, that a policy would be framed on the issue by the state after taking into consideration the suggestions of Multiplex Owners' Association (MOA) and the petitioner. The policy will likely be framed in the next six weeks and there will be a hearing on the 12th of June.