RBN Web Desk: A Supreme Court bench comprising justices Indu Malhotra and Rohinton F Nariman today stayed a Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) High Court order that allowed the audience to take their own food inside a cinema hall. In most multiplexes in India, the audience is barred from carrying any food inside the hall that has not been bought from the outlets at the theatre.
Appearing on behalf of a joint platform of multiplex chains, senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi asked the court, whether he can carry his own whiskey to a five star hotel and be allowed to order only the soda there. There will be a complete breakdown of the multiplex entities if outside food is allowed inside the halls. Many of these will go out of business, if the J&K High Court order is replicated across the the country, he added.
The apex court found reason in Rohtagi’s arguments and issued an interim stay on the High Court order.
Earlier, the J&K High Court, in its judgement, cited the instance of pregnant women and observed that food brought from inside a multiplex may not be healthy for them.
Then they should jolly well not go to a multiplex at all, Rohtagi said before the court, pointing out that absence of rules in cinema halls regarding the consumption of food and beverage doesn’t mean that such stuff from outside can be allowed.
Other lawyers appearing on behalf of the petitioners said that the J&K High Court order completely ignored the issue of safety and hygiene. There have been a number of blasts in cinema halls, they reminded, adding that it’s not possible to physically scan thousands of people who usually turn up less than 30 minutes before a film show begins.
Satisfied with the petitioners’ response, the Supreme Court bench stayed the earlier order and fixed the next date of hearing after six weeks.
A similar case is pending at the Bombay High Court which yesterday said that it will wait for the apex court’s observations on the matter before issuing an order.
The J&K High Court, in July, ordered cinema hall owners to allow the entry of outside food inside the theatres. A public interest litigation was filed by two senior advocates there.