The Bombay High Court on Thursday told the Maharashtra government to file a reply to a Public Interest Litigation challenging the ban on carrying personal food articles into movie theatres and multiplexes across the state, PTI reported. The court said the government should explain the rationale behind the ban within three weeks.

Mumbai resident Jainendra Baxi had filed the PIL, claiming that there was no legal or statutory provision prohibiting people from carrying personal food articles into film theatres. The plea said that the ban on personal food articles affects elderly individuals who cannot eat the junk food served at theatres for health reasons.

Baxi’s counsel Aditya Pratap said the licence that the state government issued to movie theatres must have a mandatory clause directing them against banning personal food articles.

He also pointed out that the Maharashtra Cinemas (Regulation) Rules does not allow hawking and selling of food inside theatres. “This rule is openly flouted by cinema halls with several stalls selling food and beverages,” Pratap said. “New theatres also have buttons right on the seats of viewers that enable them to call for a waiter, order food, and have the same delivered right at their seats.”

The court also wanted to know why security guards who frisk patrons at movie theatres take away their food items and force them to buy food from theatres. It said the primary concern of the security staff at movie halls should be to frisk patrons for any unauthorised or dangerous possessions.