Court – Supreme Court of India
Citation- 2022 SCC Online SC 1494
Date of case: 23 Jan 2023
Case no : C.A No –000077-000077/ 2023
Bench: Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice PS Narshimha
Petitioner’s advocate : Abhinav Shrivastava
Respondent’s advocate: Aditya Sharma
Judgement by : Honourable CJI
- In the judgment of the Hon’ble High Court directed multiplexes/Movie theatres not to prohibit movie-goers from carrying food items and beverages inside cinema hall. The ruling was challenged in the Supreme court under the bench of Hon’ble Chief Justice D Y Chandrachund and Justice P S Narshimha.
- The Senior Advocate appearing for the appellants ( movie halls) submitted that the multiplexes are itself a private entity and had rights to make its own rules and regulations. Whereas the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the movie ticket which the consumer purchases is to be considered as a contract between the entity and consumer . Hereby , he also submits that there is no written clause of banning food items inside the hall , so it must be allowed.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
- A PIL was instituted before Hon’ble High Court by two practising advocates regarding the prohibition imposed by the multiplexes on allowing foods and beverages inside the cinema halls.
- The submission which urged before the Hon’ble High court that as a consequence the multiplexes are imposing their own food products and beverages , and movie goers are compelled to purchase such. “highly expensive” items which is not necessarily nutritious to consumers and those who are chronic patients of diabetes.
- The high court of Jammu and Kashmir notifies State Govt:
- The Whether this restriction of the food and beverages is causing any issue to public health?
- do not prohibit movie-goers from carrying their own food items and beverages inside cinema hall
- As a consequence of the prohibition imposed by the multiplexes the consumers are bound to purchase such “highly expensive “ food items which are non nutritious in nature
- Infants which are required to be fed by the guardians can’t do so due to the rules imposed by the multiplexes.
- Viewers are forced to purchase ‘junk’ food with extrobient
- The prohibition on the food articles imposed by theatres are strictly violates the Article 21 of the Indian Constitution which provides ‘right to good health ‘ by surpassing the health standards of consumers especially young children and older people.
- The Hon’ble High court ruled that “ Multiplexes are required to allow the consumers to bring beverages and food items inside the cinema halls “
- Whether the private entity has a right to issue it’s own rules and regulations ?
- Whether this restriction of the food and beverages is causing any issue to public health?
- Is the violation of article 21 occurred?
CONTENTIONS FROM APPELLANTS
- The counsel from the appellants submitted that it’s a mere choice of the consumers to purchase food items and beverages inside the cinema halls and no compulsion is drawn towards them for the purchase.
- The counsel further adds that the multiplexes are categorized as a private entity and have full rights to impose any rules and regulations. And nowhere the Jammu and Kashmir Cinema Regulations Act of 1975 specifically mentions that food can be taken inside the cinema halls .
- Hygienic Drinking water is made available inside the halls free of cost .
- Further there is no restriction on the foods and baby products are allowed and reasonable restrictions are imposed on the adults except the infants and senior citizens.
- The ticket means that the multiplexes have the right to admission of consumers and strictly mentions the barring of eatables from outside.
CONTENTIONS FROM RESPONDENT
- The counsel from Respondent submits that a ticket is a contract between the entity and consumers and in the absence of written clause in the tickets, a movie goers can’t be held .
- The counsel further added that the prohibition on the foods and beverages by Multiplexes create impact on health of the movie goers due to the junk food items provided with exorbitant high prices violating the article 21 of Indian constitution.
- The state government drafted the 1975 Rules to control the business in this case, the Supreme Court noted. Despite this, there is no requirement in the 1975 Rules requiring the cinema owner to permit patrons to bring food or drink from outside the theater’s boundaries. The state’s authority to enact laws must be used in a way that respects the theater owner’s fundamental right to pursue a lawful trade, business, or profession as defined by Article 19 of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court ruled that the High Court erred in granting Its writ petition under Article 226 of the 1975 Rule because it lacked the authority to make directions.
SUPREME COURT OBSERVATION
- The observations made by the honourable bench comprising the Chief Justice and Justice P S Narshimha is that Jammu and Kashmir Cinema Regulations Act of 1975 contained no mandate compelling movie goers to allow to bring food items inside the halls. The article 19(1)(g) confers their rights to freely exercise their businesses, trade etc and act as their fundamental right .
- The court further noted that trade and business of conducting a business is a state subject . And in the absence of the specific mention / mandate the High court’s judgement was not justified in issuing directions to the theatre owners.
- The court further added that a multiplex is a private entity and is free to made any rules for its institution regarding the admission process unless it is unconstitutional and owners are allowed to sell the foods and beverages. And on bringing the food items it can create questions on the hygiene and cleanliness.
- The court noted that there is a commercial logic to boost the sales of foods and beverages in the halls and it’s their right to sell their products and rates according to their will .
- The court also requested the Cinema owners to consider the chronic patients or infants and their basic needs be provided. The use of the free water and washrooms available in the halls are recorded.
- The Supreme court referred “ Motilal Industries Ltd. Vs Union of India ” which held that High court must have legislative intent while exercising it’s jurisdiction under Article 226.
- The top court adds that the barring of the food items is not the violation of public safety and welfare .
- The ticket purchased from the Cinema halls are only for movie watching and does not include any food consumption on it . The foods which are not favourable according to consumer are free to refrain from purchasing them.
DEFECTS OF LAWS
- One of the primary flaws in this case is the vagueness of the clauses stated in the Jammu and Kashmir Cinemas (Regulation) Rules 1975. A clear interpretation will clarify this matter and prevent any misunderstandings about the regulations pertaining to the film industry.
- Furthermore, this runs counter to the constitution itself, which is why specific guidelines and laws governing film have been put in place. The absence of supporting clauses and regulations in this case is the reason for the judgment’s ambiguity. This scenario might have been more clearly defined with a more detailed rule.
- The bench held that we are therefore of the view of High court trespassed it’s jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Indian constitution prohibiting the Cinema hall owners to allow the movie goers to enter in the hall carrying eatables by passing orders.
- The top court said that there is absence of a statutory regulation which regulates the rights of business of operating a cinema hall, therefore by passing such directions it will impact the legitimate rights of the owner.
- The Supreme Court further added that when an infant and senior citizen needs should be fulfilled and movie owners did not have any objections in allowing reasonable food items inside the halls to fulfill their requirements. The free water and washrooms are available as stated by the counsel .
- For the moviegoers who are chronic diseases who had received dietary instructions from the medical practitioners ( doctors) we request them not to neglect them and act accordingly with the situation on a case-by-case basis
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