Multiplex Food Price Issue: High Court Asks Why Govt Is Not Regulating The Price?
High Court has said that price of food inside is 'exorbitant'
The curious case of exorbitant food price inside multiplex has now taken an interesting new turn: Bombay High Court has asked the Maharashtra Govt. why they can’t regulate the price?
This question was raised after Maharashtra Govt. admitted that they don’t have any policy to regulate or control the price of food being sold inside a multiplex.
Maharashtra Govt.’s next step can change everything about the food price issue!
The Curious Case of Multiplex Food Price
We had reported last month about Dinesh Bhalekar, Pune district food and civil supply officer, who had issued a notification, stating that outside food should be allowed inside multiplexes, and no one can stop a cinema-goer from taking it.
He had even issued a toll free number of District Food Supply Office (DFSO): 1800- 222-365, where any one can complain, if multiplex owners refuse to allow outside food.
His logic was that old age citizens and diabetic patients require home food, and multiplexes are breaking laws by not allowing outside food.
Now, this case has reached Bombay High Court, where a public interest litigation (PIL) has been lodged, supporting this move. The PIL requests the Govt to make a rule about outside food being allowed.
During the arguments, Maharashtra Govt. stated that they don’t have any such rule to regulate either the price of food being sold inside multiplex, or on the issue of allowing outside food.
Multiplex being private properties, they can be impose their own rule under right to admission.
Advocate general pleader (AGP) Poornima Katharina, appearing on behalf of Govt., told this to division bench headed by Justice Ranjit More.
Multiplex Owners: Our Business Would Be Affected!
It seems that a close-door meeting was held between Govt. representatives, multiplex owners and the petitioners represented by Advocate Aditya Pratap.
In the meeting, the multiplex owners complained that if food prices are regulated, and outside food is allowed, then it may pose a security risk, and their business will fall.
In the reply, Advocate Aditya Pratap who is representing the petitioners said, “A simple X-ray machine scanner, as is done at airports, can adequately scan for hazardous objects. Further, people can easily carry their own food inside aircraft after passing through security check, so why not cinema halls?”
Bench: Multiplex Food Price Is ‘Exorbitant’
After hearing the arguments, bench of justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai observed that the price of food inside multiplexes is indeed exorbitant, and a solution has to be put in place.
The bench said, “The prices of food and beverages sold in multiplexes are exorbitant. Sometimes, some food items are more expensive than even movie tickets,”
And then, the Bench said something which was not expected. He asked the State Govt. why can’t they regulate the price of food sold inside multiplex, and whether Bombay Police Act can be executed to regulate the price of food.
The bench said, “We understand if the state can’t permit the public to carry food from home. But, then why can’t it step in and regulate the prices of food sold inside the cinema theatres?”
It seems that the Judges are supporting the logic of petitioners, who have even argued that under Article 21 of the constitution, any citizen can right to life, which means that he or she can take food anywhere they want.
The bench accused the multiplex owners, as it said, “Basically, you (the association and multiplex owners) are compelling the public to purchase and consume what you sell at a price that suits you,”
Maharashtra Govt. will soon file their reply in the next hearing.
We will keep you updated.