According to India Today, the Supreme Court gave movie hall owners a boost by ruling that they are entirely within their rights to define the terms and conditions for the sale of food and beverages inside the premises and to forbid the entry of outside food products. For publicly traded multiplex operators like PVR and Inox Leisure, this should be a relief.
A brief about Supreme Court decision Cinemas may establish rules for outside food and beverage:
A moviegoer has the option of not consuming the same, according to a bench led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud.”
However, the judges emphasized that theatres shouldn’t object if parents bring food for their infants.
CJI spoke aloud during the hearing that: “The cinemas are privately owned. Owner discretion is given regarding prohibition rights. If someone wishes to bring jalebi into the theatres, the owner has the right to protest, saying that the person might accidentally destroy the chair by wiping his hands on it after eating the jalebi.
He continued, “Water is provided for everyone, and food for newborns is also permitted, but not all food can be allowed inside the premises. You can’t say, “I’ll go get my nimbu from outside and squeeze & make it,” if they offer nimbu paani for Rs 20, for example.
The court overturned a ruling by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that instructed multiplexes and movie theatres to allow patrons to bring their own food and drink into the theatres.
The bench ruled that the rule-making power of the state must be in accordance with the fundamental right of the owner of a movie theatre to conduct commerce, trade, etc.
The High Court’s 2018 decision was the subject of a number of appeals being heard in court by theatre owners and the Multiplex Association of India.
The initial petitioner’s attorney in the high court case said the following to the bench during the hearing: “There ought to be some consistency. As soon as a ticket is acquired, moviegoers engage into a contract with the theatre; therefore, food cannot be prohibited unless it is specifically stated on the ticket.”
Senior attorney K V Viswanathan, who was representing certain movie theatre owners, disagreed, arguing that movie theatre precincts are private property and that movie theatre owners have the right to restrict access to their theatres.
“The cinema’s assets are the private property of the building’s owner. As long as the owner’s terms and conditions do not conflict with the general welfare, safety, or interest of the public, they may be set. The proprietor may decide the conditions under which food and drink may be sold. There is an option for moviegoers not to acquire the same, “the prescribed order.