For every wide-eyed movie-goer who is glued to a seat, munching on popcorn, there are those who do not like the food being served in movie halls. While some cannot eat it due to medical reasons, there are many who do not want to pay the often triple-digit popcorn price.
This is what probably what Mumbai resident Jainendra Baxi had in mind, when he, through his lawyer Mr Aditya Pratap, filed a PIL challenging the prohibition on carrying outside food in movie theatres and multiplexes.
The PIL claimed there was no legal or statutory provision prohibiting one from carrying personal food articles or beverages into movie theatres.
In response, the Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra Government to reply to Baxi’s PIL, within three weeks, and the logic behind prohibiting outside food in movie-halls, and whether it is lawful or not.
“They cannot frisk people and take away all the food items,” said a division bench comprising of Justice RM Borde and Justice Rajesh Ketkar. “There you are not entering a sensitive area like an airport to pose a security threat,” the judges said, questioning the need to frisk patrons entering cinema halls, according to India Today.
The bench pointed out that movie-goers should be frisked for dangerous items like guns and knives, and not have their personal food items snatched from them.
Baxi’s lawyer, Advocate Pratap, pertinently pointed out that Maharashtra Cinemas (Regulation) Rules prohibit hawking and selling food inside theatres and auditoriums, yet halls openly flout this rule. In fact, they now have buttons on their seats, allowing people to summon waiters and place orders.
The restrictions on bringing outside food to theatres mainly affect senior citizens and those who cannot eat, for medical reasons, “the junk food sold at the food stalls inside theatres,” the petition read, according to India Today.
Advocate Pratap suggested that licences issued by the state to such theatres must have a mandatory clause directing them not to ban any outside food or water.