The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Jammu and Kashmir High Court direction, allowing moviegoers to carry food from outside to cinema halls. A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra granted the stay on a special leave petition filed by the Multiplex Association of India and the General Manager (Legal) of PVR Ltd, Gurgaon.
Admitting the appeal, the bench also allowed respondents to file counter affidavits within four weeks.
Hearing a PIL, the high court had on July 18 said not allowing moviegoers to carry food from outside goes “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 guaranteeing protection of life and personal liberty of every citizen”.
The PIL by some lawyers contended that due to prohibition on outside food, viewers are forced to take “junk food/eatables from inside the cinema hall premises at very exorbitant rates, thereby playing with the health of people, especially young generation as well as diabetic patients”.
Deciding the plea, the court went into J&K Cinemas (Regulation) Rules, 1975.
The High Court said, “a perusal of these rules reveals that nowhere it has been provided that cinemagoers can be prohibited from carrying their own food articles and water bottles to multiplexes or private vendors are allowed to sell food inside such multiplexes/cinema hall premises at highly exorbitant prices”.
It added, “in absence of any such provision, cinemagoers cannot be forced or compelled by the multiplexes/cinema hall owners to purchase food and water from theatre premises nor they can be prohibited from carrying food items into malls and multiplexes from outside.”