When it comes to food in theatres, many a moviegoer has often complained about the overpriced popcorn and other snacks and beverages. With outside food not allowed in multiplexes, the additional taxes and charges have been an issue for the audience. Matters turned serious recently with even the Supreme Court involved in the debate!
If you're one such moviegoer, don't have much hope as these are the key highlights of the apex court's verdict:
- property of cinema hall is private property of the owner of hall and owner is entitled to set terms and conditions for sale of food and beverages
- movie goer has choice to not purchase the same
- all cinemas must provide hygienic drinking water without any charge
- cinema owners cannot object to reasonable food carried by parents for infants
What: This verdict comes in the wake of a plea regarding outside food being carried inside cinema halls.
- The plea was filed by lawyers in Jammu and Kashmir (where Srinagar recently opened the region's first multiplex) based on local halls issuing notices that in the case of viewers bringing outside food, they would be denied entry by security.
But this condition wasn't seen as a grievance by the court, with the Chief Justice of India and other Justices adding that rights of admission are always reserved in private establishments like such halls. To quote CJI Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud,
"The property of cinema hall is private property of the owner of the hall. The owner is entitled to set terms and conditions so long as such terms and conditions are not contrary to public interest, safety and welfare."
Chandrachud also went on to throw in an example of a jalebi saying,
"If one wants to take jalebi inside the cinema halls, owner has the right to object to the same stating that after eating jalebi the person could wipe his hands with the chair and ruining it unnecessarily."
Other food items that were discussed included tandoori chicken...
It's his [theatre owner] right. He may not want tandoori chicken to be bought in. No one is forcing them to buy popcorn. But the owner has a right.
For water we can make a concession that free water be provided at movie theatres but at the same time you can't say that suppose they sell nimbu paani for Rs 20; you can't say I'll go buy my nimbu from outside and squeeze and make it.
Long story short: Next time if customers make a face with food being sold at exorbitantly high rates at a PVR or an Inox, the theatre owners have the Supreme Court's backing to do so (and to kick you out if you bring outside food).
(let me get lunch while you digest that)