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Multiplexes Cannot Charge Exorbitant Prices For Food, Water—Bombay HC

The High Court of Mumbai has opinioned that multiplexes are charging exorbitant rates for water and food items and measures should be taken to bring them down to normal rates. State government of Maharashtra has therefore told the court that laws will soon be framed to bring out a policy to address the issue. The issue came up for hearing when a public interest litigation or PIL was filed by Jainendra Baxi before the divisional bench of SM Kemkar and MS Karnik, challenging the prevalent practice by multiplexes of not allowing outside food items and water across the state.

Mr. Baxi’s lawyer, Aditya Pratap Singh has argued that though there are no statutory provisions prohibiting moviegoers from carrying personal food and water inside a movie theater, they are not allowed to do so forcing them to buy these items at exorbitant rates. Both judges agreed that the petition is a valid one as they too have experienced the phenomenon and issued a judgment that multiplexes should sell food and water at regular rates. Justice Kemkar stated that if multiplexes ban outside food citing debris and hygiene as reasons then they should not sell the same items inside the premises to their patrons.

Purnima Kantharia, government pleader of the state told the judicial bench that a policy will be framed within six weeks after considering the suggestions given by petitioner and Multiplex Owners’ Association (MOA) which is a national level association of multiplex owners. In view of the pleader’s statement, the petition has been scheduled for another hearing on June 12 by the bench. The petitioner had further claimed that restrictions related to bringing personal food items to theaters has adversely affected senior citizens who cannot eat outside food due to medical reasons and most food vendors inside theaters sell junk food.

Chaitra Josephine

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