Hyderabad: The Hyderabad Consumer Forum-1 has ruled that cinema halls in the city cannot charge a different price (MRP) on water bottles they sell at theatres, vis-a-vis the price outside for such bottles. Disposing of a case, it directed the INOX Multiplex at Banjara Hills to refund an amount of Rs 5,000 along with Rs 1,000 as costs to one movie-goer, Vijay Gopal.
The complainant stated in a case he filed with the forum that he wasn’t allowed to carry a water bottle inside the theatre and was instead given a token for keeping the bottle in the cloak room. He was unhappy with it because the INOX sold the same water bottle at Rs 50 while it’s available for Rs 20 in the outside market. The complainant also alleged that the malls are looting money from theatre-goers by overcharging and they are not adhering to the MRP fixed by the manufacturers.
While submitting a reply before the forum, INOX replied that it’s true that the complainant came on June 25, 2016, for watching a movie and the staff didn’t permit the water bottle in due to security reasons. In its defence, INOX advanced an argument that water can be used as an ingredient to make an explosive. When a small piece of alkali metals like sodium and potassium are put in water, it could create a fire, smoke and explosion.
The forum, while listening to both the parties, ruled in favour of the complainant Vijay Gopal. The court relied on the decision reported in 2016 (IV) CPJ 246 of the National Commission on Big Cinemas and another of Manoj Kumar, Section 2 (1), Legal Metrology (Packed) Commodities Rules 2011. The forum noted that there cannot be two MRPs for the same water bottle and the manufacturer also has no right to fix different MRPs for two different water bottles of the same quality and quantity. Recently, NCDRC ordered that there cannot be two MRPs except in accordance with law.
Therefore, the opposite party was directed to discontinue the unfair trade practice. The forum also noted that the INOX should sell the water bottles for the same rate quoted outside the theatre. All the cinema theatres situated in the Hyderabad and Secunderabad are not impleaded as a party to the proceedings, but they shall follow the directions issued in the case. Copies of the judgment shall be sent to each cinema theatre. All the cinema theatres are now directed to follow this order of the court.