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‘Cinema halls have to provide free drinking water if it bans water from outside’: HC

Chennai: The Madras High Court has said that movie theaters should provide free, clean, portable water to moviegoers if they ban carrying water from outside, according to the Bar and Bench.

For security reasons, Justice SM Subramaniam noted that cinema owners may forbid patrons to bring their own water. The ruling followed a hearing held in 2016 on a petition filed by G Devarajan, protesting the charging of higher prices than the maximum retail prices (MRPs) for water and juice in a theatre in Tamil Nadu.

In the court’s order, an order prohibiting the carrying of drinking water from the cinema halls must necessarily include water coolers inside the cinema halls that provide free, potable and pure drinking water free of charge before such a prohibition can be enforced. The HC also directed that all cinema goers in the auditorium have access to drinking water at all times. It is recommended that purifiers be installed in water coolers so that the water available to cinema-goers is free of impurities, and that disposable glasses be placed near the coolers.

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Water purifiers need to remain fully functional and have to be regularly serviced. There must be water available before the movie begins and throughout the movie, including the intermission. In the event that water supply is not available on a particular day, alternative arrangements are to be made. Additionally, the judge ruled that if the order is violated, the cinema hall’s owner will be liable for the deficiency in providing services to cinemagoers.

As well, the court ordered authorities to conduct periodic inspections to ensure that drinking water facilities, toilet facilities, etc., at movie theatres in Tamil Nadu are properly maintained.


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