The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Jammu and Kashmir High Court order permitting moviegoers to carry their own eatables and beverages inside theatres. A bench of Justice Rohinton F. Nariman and Justice Indu Malhotra wanted to know whether there are any statutory provisions to put restrictions on carrying of outside food inside cinemas.
The court asked Sidharth Anand, who filed the PIL before the High Court, to file a response to the appeal against the impugned order and posted the matter for hearing after six weeks.
Last month, the High Court had said that moviegoers cannot be forced by multiplexes and cinema hall owners to purchase food, water and beverages from the theatre premises nor can they be prohibited from carrying food items into malls and multiplexes.
The High Court said that such 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.
In the top court, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Multiplex Association of India, told the bench that the High Court order was wrong and if the order was replicated across the country, there will be a complete breakdown of these private entities.
Seeking a stay on the High Court orders, Rohatgi asked if he could be allowed to carry his won whiskey into the Taj hotel and order soda there.
The Bombay High Court has in the past said that moviegoers cannot be prohibited from carrying eatables inside cinemas when food and drinks inside theatres are sold at exorbitant rates.
On July 8, the Delhi High Court had also sought a response from the city government to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking framing of guidelines to allow moviegoers to carry their own eatables and beverages inside theatres.