In an RTI (Right to Information) query, Hyderabad police has revealed that multiplexes cannot prohibit cinegoers from carrying their own food and water bottles inside the cinema hall. As a matter of fact, a movie-goer can even file a complaint with the Legal Metrology Department for them to check if any laws have indeed been violated, according to The News Minute.
The clarification comes as a response to an RTI filed by a Hyderabad-based anti-corruption activist Vijay Gopal. As per the Cinema Regulation Act of 1955, there are no laws restricting the admission of moviegoers inside the theatre with their own food packets. However, despite this law, customers are often disallowed from carrying food inside the hall citing security reasons.
A recent RTI response has also revealed that customers can also bring their own 3D glasses to a single-screen theatre, and the theatre owners cannot charge them for providing with 3D glasses. Some multiplexes, the police added, can charge extra for providing 3D glasses as per government regulations. A person can also submit a complaint legal metrology department in case they are charged extra for the 3D glasses in single-screen theatres, as no bills or receipts are given for the overhead charges.
Interesting, Vijay Gopal had filed a complaint with the Hyderabad Consumer Forum after he was charged extra on water bottles. INOX multiplex was asked to pay Rs 6000 for levying an extra charge on the water bottles. Directing INOX to discontinue the unfair trade practice, the forum had also stated at the time there cannot be two different MRPs (Maximum Retail Price) on the same product.
Gopal had also filed an RTI with the Reserve Bank of India and IT Ministry to investigate if portals like BookMyShow and Paytm are allowed to charge an extra 'internet handling charges' if a ticket is bought online. The response revealed that the 'internet handling fee' levied against each ticket is in violation of the RBI's Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) regulations, issued by the RBI on 6 Dec, 2017.