The Supreme Court on Tuesday (3 January) said that cinema halls have the right to bar outside food within their premises, but must provide hygienic drinking water for free.
Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said, “The property of the cinema hall is the private property of the owner of the hall. The owner is entitled to set the terms and conditions so long as such terms and conditions are not contrary to public interest. The owner is entitled to set the terms for sale of food and beverages. The movie-goers have the choice to not buy the same.”
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and PS Narasimha is hearing a plea challenging a July 2018 Jammu and Kashmir High Court order lifting the restriction on movie-goers to carry their own food to cinema halls.
The petitioners had contested that the Jammu Kashmir (Regulation) Rules 1975, does not prohibit bringing outside food.
Setting aside the order, the apex court said, “The High Court transgressed its limits on the exercise of its jurisdiction,” and pointed out that there were no statutory rules to do so.
The bench further clarified that in case parents are carrying an infant or a child with them, a reasonable amount of food can be carried by them. The theatre owners cannot be asked to fix uniform ticket rates either, as the facilities provided by them may vary depending on the audience they cater to.
In a light remark, the court said “The cinema hall is not a gym that you need healthy food. It is a place of entertainment.”
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