Cinema owners can prohibit outside food in halls: Supreme Court
New Delhi, January 4: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that movie theater owners have the absolute right to set the terms and conditions for the sale of food and beverages in their theaters.
"Suppose someone starts getting jalebis. The owner would not want anyone wiping their hands on the seats," a bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha said. The apex court further remarked that the "owners may not want tandoori chicken to be bought in" but elaborated that no one was forcing cinemagoers to buy popcorn.
CJI Chandrachud said, "A cinema hall owner has the right to regulate the entry of food and beverage. Whether to consume what is available is entirely upon the choice of the moviegoer. Viewers visit halls for entertainment."
The Supreme Court ruled that viewers must follow the rules of cinema owners and that this is clearly a commercial decision by cinema owners.
"The cinema hall is not a gym that you need healthy food. It is a place of entertainment. It is privately owned, so it is the owner's prerogative," the apex court noted.
The High court of Jammu and Kashmir overturned an order of the Supreme Court of Jammu and Kashmir that ordered cinema complexes and movie theaters not to prevent moviegoers from bringing their own food and drink into the auditorium. The
Apex Court has heard numerous appeals filed by theater owners and the Indian Multiplex Association to challenge the 2018 High Court ruling.