Cinema halls can prohibit outside food, beverages: Supreme Court
In a major victory for the owners of cinema halls, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that theater operators have the right to regulate cine-goers from bringing outside food and beverages. A bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha noted cinema halls are private properties. However, it clarified that all theaters should provide clean drinking water for free.
What exactly did SC bench say?
Hearing a plea seeking banning of outside food, the SC said, "Cinema hall is private property...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." "The owner is entitled to set terms for the sale of food and beverages. Movie goer has the choice to not purchase the same."
Infant food is allowed: CJI Chandrachud
"The cinema hall is not a gym where you need healthy food," the bench remarked. "It is the viewer's right and discretion what theatre he picks to watch a film, so the management also has the right to make rules." The Chief Justice of India noted that hygienic drinking water is already available for everyone for free and "food for infants is also allowed."
Matter reaches SC against J&K High Court's order
Per Live Law, the case came reached the Supreme Court after the Jammu and Kashmir High Court directed owners of multiplexes and cinema halls not to prohibit customers from bringing their food and water inside theaters. Senior Advocate KV Vishwanathan, representing the appellant KC Theatres, petitioned the SC to overturn the HC's decision, submitting that cinemas were private properties and could reserve admission rights.
Multiplex Association of India was party in case too
The SC was considering pleas filed by J&K theater owners and the Multiplex Association of India contesting the HC's 2018 decision. "The moviegoers enter into a contract with the cinema as soon as the ticket is purchased and in the absence of prohibition printed on it, food cannot be prohibited," the counsel for the original petitioner in the HC told the SC on Tuesday.