Why can't govt regulate expensive-food in multiplexes: Bombay-HC

India

27 Jun 2018

Bombay-HC asks why govt couldn't regulate expensive food-items in multiplexes

The Bombay HC asked the Maharashtra government why it could not regulate the prices of expensive food-items in multiplexes across Maharashtra.

Observing that the prices of such items were often "exorbitant," a bench of justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai directed the state to examine Bombay Police Act to see if it can be used to regulate prices of eatables being sold in cinema-halls.

Food articles more expensive than movie tickets: Bench

"The prices of food and beverages sold in multiplexes are exorbitant. Sometimes, some food articles there are more expensive than even the movie tickets," the bench said.

PIL

PIL filed challenging prohibition of bringing outside food in multiplexes

"We understand if the state can't permit the public to carry food from home. But, why can't it regulate the prices of food sold inside the cinema theaters," the bench said.

It was hearing a public interest lawsuit challenging the prohibition on carrying outside food-items inside the movie-theaters across Maharashtra.

The PIL has been filed by one Jainendra Baxi, through his lawyer Aditya Pratap.

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Maha Cinema Rules

Hawkers, sellers not allowed inside theaters and auditoriums

The plea claims that there is no legal provision prohibiting one from carrying personal food-articles or water inside movie theaters.

Advocate Pratap also said that the Maharashtra Cinemas (Regulation) Rules prohibit hawking and selling food inside the theaters and auditoriums.

The Multiplexes Owners Association, however, argued through senior counsel Iqbal Chagla that the association could not intervene in the prices fixed by the retailers.

Fixed prices

Multiplex Owners Association says cannot intervene in fixed-prices by retailers

"If I go to a five-star hotel... I can't ask them to reduce the price of the cup of coffee that they are selling. That is because, I have made a choice to go to an expensive hotel," Chagla said.

He said when one buys a movie-ticket, it becomes a part of the contract that he will not be allowed to carry outside food.

Association does huge favor! Says RO water is given free

"The public is prohibited from carrying food from home because of security reasons. They are free not to purchase anything for these three hours. Since water is essential, we provide filter and RO water at the theaters for drinking free of cost," Chagla said.

Unjust sale

You are compelling public to purchase your suited price: Bench

The HC bench, however, noted that senior citizens or those suffering from some medical condition such as diabetes, often need to eat at regular intervals and that they can't always eat what is sold at the multiplexes.

"Basically, you are compelling the public to purchase and consume what you sell at a price that suits you," the bench said.

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Theatres

Aditya Pratap

Advocate Pratap

Anuja Prabhudessai

Bombay HC

Bombay Police Act

HC

Iqbal Chagla

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