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SC Stays J&K HC Directive Against Prohibiting Cinema Goers From Carrying Food Items Inside Multiplexes [Read Order]

The Supreme Court, on Friday, stayed the direction issued by Jammu and Kashmir High Court against prohibiting cinema goers/viewers from carrying his/her own food articles and water inside the theatre.

The High Court by the impugned order directed the Multiplexes/Cinema Halls Owners of the State of J&K  not to prohibit cinema goers/viewers henceforth from carrying his/her own food articles and water inside the theatre.

The bench of Justice Rohinton Nariman and Justice Indu Malhotra issue notice to the state after it heard Senior Advocate Mukul Rohtagi who appeared for Multiplex Association of India.

The matter has been posted after six weeks.

Background

On a PIL filed by lawyers, the High court had directed owners of multiplexes/cinema halls of the state not to prohibit cinemagoers from carrying their own food articles and water inside the theatre.

While issuing directives, the High court bench had observed: “A perusal of these rules reveals that no where 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.”          

Bombay High court had also issued similar order

The Bombay High court had also observed 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.

Recently the High court had questioned the stand taken by Maharashtra Govt. which had deviated from its earlier view in the matter, and stated before the Court that allowing outside food to Multiplexes a security threat.

The petition seeking similar reliefs are also pending before Delhi and Madhya Pradesh High courts.

Read the Order Here

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