Movie Goers Can Carry Food & Water Inside Multiplexes/Cinema Theatres: Jammu & Kashmir HC [Read Judgment]
‘Such kind of acts on the part of Multiplex/Cinema Hall owners are against the right to choice of food, including the right not to eat junk food and right to good health, which comes under the purview of Article 21 of the Constitution of India guaranteeing protection of life and personal liberty of every citizen.’
There is happy news for movie goers in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed owners of multiplexes/cinema halls of the state not to prohibit cinemagoers from carrying their own food articles and water inside the theatre.
The order is issued by a bench of Justice Tashi Rabstan and Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta in a public interest litigation filed by some lawyers.
The lawyers-petitioners brought to the notice of the court, through PIL, that in every cinema theatre, the cinema owners have pasted notices in the theatre premises itself, whereby they have prohibited the moviegoers from taking outside the eatable items inside the cinema halls.
They also stated that, at the entry point in every cinema hall, every cinemagoer who purchases a ticket for seeking the movie, is asked to offer search of their belongings by the security guards and, in case, there is found some eatable items with them, the same are removed, irrespective of the fact that the eatable items which are found from the search may be some nutritious diet or some eatables required to be taken as per the consultation of doctors, as they may have been prohibited from eating the junk food on health grounds. They contended that the cinema hall owners have framed the rules of their own and in their own manner just to mint money which is affecting the general public at large.
“It is highly unjustified on the part of cinema hall owners that they are forcing the movie goers for purchasing only such food which is kept in the staffs erected within the cinema premises, most of which is the junk food, they the cinema hall owners are not only minting money but also playing with the health of the people by selling junk food at highly exorbitant rates, which is never checked by any authority concerned,” the petition read.
No Prohibition In Bringing Food To Theatres
The bench referring to Jammu & Kashmir Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1975, observed: “Nowhere it has been provided that cinemagoers can be prohibited from carrying their own food articles and water bottles to multiplexes or private vendors are allowed to sell food inside such multiplexes/cinema hall premises at highly exorbitant prices. Therefore, in absence of any such provision, cinema goers cannot be forced or compelled by the multiplexes/cinema hall owners to purchase food and water from theatre premises nor they can be prohibited from carrying food items into malls and multiplexes from outside. Even the viewers, who come along with their infants/babies, also need milk to feed them because they cannot be kept empty stomach for about three long hours. The restrictions on bringing outside food to theatres and compelling/forcing to purchase junk food, sold at the food stalls inside theatre premises, that too at exorbitant rates, particularly affect young generation, senior citizens, diabetic patients and those who cannot eat for medical reasons. Such kind of acts on the part of Multiplex/Cinema Hall owners are against the right to choice of food, including the right not to eat junk food and right to good health, which comes under the purview of Article 21 of the Constitution of India guaranteeing protection of life and personal liberty of every citizen.”
The bench also said security guards/staff employed in the theatres though can frisk the people to a limited extent, but they cannot take away all the food items carried by them.
The bench disposed of the PIL with these directives:
- Multiplexes/Cinema Halls Owners of the State of J&K are directed not to prohibit cinema goers/viewers henceforth from carrying his/her own food articles and water inside the theatre.
- The Government of J&K, as well as Licensing Authority/every District Magistrate in the State, is directed to ensure henceforth complete ban of polythene bags in the Multiplexes/Cinema Halls. Further, Multiplex/Cinema Hall owners are also directed to erect sign boards at conspicuous places requesting the cinema viewers not to litter waste food articles, bottles etc. in the multiplexes/Cinema Halls.
- The Government of J&K as well as Licensing Authority/every District Magistrate in the State is directed to ensure proper uniformity be maintained with respect to the sale price of tickets in all the cinemas of the State in terms of Rule 87(i) & (ii) of the Jammu & Kashmir Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1975.
- The Government of J&K, as well as Licensing Authority/every District Magistrate in the State, is directed to ensure proper compliance of Rule 88.
- They are also directed to ensure strict compliance of Rule 88(ix), which provides that no person between the age of 5 years to 18 years shall be admitted to any show commencing before 3.00 PM except on Sunday or any notified holiday by the Government of J&K. v. The Government as well as Every District Magistrate in the State is directed to see and ensure that these directions are complied with forthwith in its true letter and spirit and in case of any breach of these directions on the part of any Multiplex/Cinema Halls owners, take stern action against them and even revoke the license of such Multiplex/Cinema Hall owners. If henceforth, any District Magistrate fails to comply with the aforesaid directions, the State Government is directed to take appropriate action against such District Magistrate under rules.
- All District Magistrates of the State are directed to give wide publicity to this order in all the three regions of the State through print as well as electronic media so that general masses of the State could be aware of the order.
The Bombay High court, on similar lines, had recently ruled that cinemagoers cannot be prohibited from carrying their own food articles and water bottles to multiplexes as private vendors are allowed to sell food inside at exorbitant prices. Live Law had also reported about the plea of a lawyer before Madhya Pradesh High Court seeking direction to the state government to bring in a policy to regulate the price of food items in multiplexes.Read the Judgment Here