Maharashtra Govt Takes U-Turn On Allowing Outside Food In Cinema Halls

Mumbai : 

The Maharashtra government in an affidavit to the Bombay High Court on Tuesday has stated that it it does not deem it necessary to interfere with the ban on outside food in multiplexes, as it may create “chaos” or “security issues”.

In the Monsoon session, Maharashtra Food Supplies Minister Ravindra Chavan had said that there is no restriction on taking outside food in cinema halls, theatres, and multiplexes. He had also stated that action will be taken against the theatres’ employees and owners if people are denied from carrying outside food. Thereby, taking a complete U-turn in the matter, the government has cited security issues.

He had also said that there cannot be a different price tag on the same food product sold at multiplexes and outside. Chavan had said that the eatables sold in the cinema halls would be sold on MRP from 1 August.

On Monday, 6 August, The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Sandeep Deshpande and 15 party workers were stopped from entering a multiplex in Phoenix Mills at Lower Parel as they were carrying outside food. The MNS has alleged that police supported the management of PVR, instead of going by the state government’s order which said movie goers would be allowed to carry outside food inside multiplexes from August 1.

In the affidavit filed on Tuesday, the government  said it will direct multiplexes and cinema halls to provide drinking water free of charge, and sell food and beverages at a price not exceeding the maximum retail price.

“Although there is no specific provision in the Maharashtra Cinema (Regulations) Rules 1966 to prohibit viewers from taking their own food items or water inside, as per the opinion of the director general of police, carrying own food may create chaos and may lead to security issue,” the affidavit said.

A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai will be hearing a petition challenging ban on outside food and beverages at multiplexes and cinema halls today.

On 27 June, the court had asked the government why it could not regulate the prices of food items at multiplexes which are exorbitant.