He alleges that both the theatre managements were overcharging customers on products like soft drinks, depending upon the show timings and crowd availability.

Two Hyderabad theatres overcharge customers for food activist files complaintImage for representation
news News Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - 19:20

A social activist in Hyderabad recently filed a complaint against two movie theatres, Tarakarama Theatre and Venkataramana Theatre at Kachiguda in Hyderabad for selling food products above Maximum Retail Price (MRP).

“When people go for movies, one thing they come across is high rates of food products in theatres,” says Vijay Gopal. 

“We never question the theatre management for such acts they commit as it is just Rs 10 or Rs 15. But when it is done to at least 800 people a day on an average, it leads to a huge amount,” Vijay explains.

Vijay alleges that both the theatre managements were overcharging customers on products like soft drinks, depending upon the show timings and crowd availability.

“On November 6, I went to watch a movie in Venkataramana Theatre. The theatre was charging Rs 5-10 extra on snacks and soft drinks without any receipt for such charges,” he says.

He also adds that it is a violation of Section 36 of Legal Metrology Act for selling non-standard packages. According to the Act, those who do not confirm to the declarations on the package will be punished with a fine of up to Rs 25,000 with fines for subsequent offences extending to one lakh rupees or a prison term of one year.

“MRP is inclusive of all taxes levied on the product. The legislation has made it mandatory for the manufacturers to print the maximum retail price on the packaging of consumer goods, so that the consumer does not get overcharged. And still we have to pay cooling charge for a cold drink or water bottle,” he says.

Vijay also says that parking space should be provided free for the customers.

“Not just the overcharging on food products, both the theatres charge Rs 30 for four-wheeler parking and Rs 20 for two-wheelers without any receipt,” he says.

According to Andhra Pradesh/TS Cinemas Regulation Act 1955, the area of the site in square metres should be clearly specified for parking of vehicles, for toilets and for booking offices, shelters in order to get a licence for the construction of theatres. 

“It is also mentioned that the ticket price should be approved by the licensing authority and only then should the tickets be sold at that price. Further, that price is to be shared between the State government and the theatre management in the ratio of 1:1,” Vijay says.   

However, charging money for parking in theatres is not mentioned in the Cinemas Regulation Act.

“If the parking space and other facilities are mandatory to get licence, it is obvious that the tickets charges are inclusive of all these facilities, because we don’t pay for using the restrooms in theatres so why should we pay for parking?” Vijay asks.

On September 4, Gopal had filed a similar case against another theatre in Kachiguda, Tarakarama Theatre. 

The theatre provides customers with a cloak room facility and charges Rs 5 for each baggage. 

This facility that is being provided in the theatre premises, is nowhere mentioned in the States Cinemas Regulation Act and also it is not stipulated that these services are to be charged separately.

“As the customers are not allowed to carry their bag inside the theatre, they are forced to use the cloak room and pay for it,” he argues.

A case has been registered against both the theatres under Section 420 of IPC for cheating, dishonestly inducing delivery of property and Section 418 of IPC for cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may ensue to person whose interest, offender is bound to protect.