Bombay High Court expresses concern over high prices charged by food stalls in theatres

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has expressed concern over the high prices charges by food stalls inside cinema halls. The court held the prices are ‘exorbitant’ and need to be regulated. A division bench of Justice Shantanu Kemkar and Justice Makarand Karnik even rapped the Multiplex Owners’ Association for prohibiting the public from carrying own food inside cinema halls.

“We have ourselves experienced the high prices of food and water bottles inside the cinema halls. We believe the prices, as charged by vendors inside the multiplexes, are exorbitant,” Justice Kemkar said. Justice Kemkar’s remark was in response to the submission of advocate Aditya Pratap who highlighted the high prices of food, water and other snacks inside the multiplexes.

Advocate Pratap was arguing on behalf of activist Jayendra Baxi, who had filed a PIL seeking regulation of the high prices of food items inside cinema halls. The petition has also challenged the curbs imposed on citizens, which bar them from carrying their own food inside cinema halls. The petition highlighted the woes of senior citizens and also others who cannot eat junk food, served inside the cinema halls, due to medical reasons. Justice Kemkar rapped the MOA saying, “If you cannot allow people to carry their own food on your premises, we are of the opinion that you must not allow even the vendors to sell eatables.”

During the course of hearing, the judges asked the government to consider framing a policy to regulate this issue. This suggestion was put forth after the judges learnt that there were no laws in place to regulate or monitor the same. Agreeing to the bench, Government Pleader Poornima Kantharia informed the judges that the government would soon come up with a policy to regulate these issues. She told the judges that the government would frame such a policy within six weeks as it would take into consideration the suggestions of the petitioner and also the MOA. Having heard the submissions, the judges posted the matter for further hearing on June 12.

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