Cinema theatres that do not allow the public to carry water bottles inside movie halls for security reasons must provide safe drinking water for free within the premises or pay compensation, the Madras High Court observed on Tuesday, October 5. Hearing a petition filed by one G Devarajan in 2016, Justice SM Subramaniam observed that theatres across Tamil Nadu should not only provide the water for free, but that it should be purified under prescribed requirements. He also noted that though theatres prohibit taking water bottles inside movie halls to avoid untoward and illegal activities, the rule is only fair if the theatre management provides safe drinking water to the viewers.
The High Court further noted that the water purifiers must be fully functional and serviced regularly, failing which cinema hall owners could be liable to pay compensation to cinema-goers. Besides this, the court also ordered the theatre management to maintain clean restrooms within its premises. Subsequently, the court also ordered the Commissioner of Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, Joint Commissioner of Legal Metrology Department to hold inspections to find out if the order is adhered to.
On April 14, 2016 G Devarajan, while visiting a movie theatre in Perambur had to pay Rs 30 for a 500 ml water bottle, while the MRP of the bottle was Rs 10, and Rs 65 for a bottled fruit juice which is sold with an MRP of Rs 25. As Devarajan did not get response from both the theatre management and the companies of the product sold at the movies, he filed a petition at the High Court for overpricing the customers.
According to a report in The Hindu, the counsel representing the theatre said that dual MRPs were allowed prior to 2017. And depending on the location, the food manufactures are allowed to vary prices of the goods. The court ordered the Legal Metrology Department to hold an investigation on this.