HYDERABAD: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has ruled that cinema theatres cannot charge more than the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) on water bottles. In a complaint that went from a district consumer redressal forum to state consumer forum and then to the NCDRC, the national commission has reiterated that water bottles should be sold at the same price as is available outside.
Though the complaint was, specifically, against GVK One, a mall in the city, however, the NCDRC said it should be followed by all cinema theatres in the twin cities.
However, the order does not address the problem of only specific brands of water bottles sold in movie theatres. For instance, in well-known multiplexes either the multiplexes have their own water bottle brand or have foreign brands.
“The problem is that many of the multiplexes sell only a specific brand of water bottle. Those brands are naturally charged high as they are usually not available outside. This, in a way, does not address the bigger problem of multiplexes selling only a particular brand,” argued Vijay Gopal, a consumer rights activist and the complainant.
The consumer panel had earlier ruled that movie theatres were obligated to provide drinking water facilities inside halls. Theatre management should ensure water supply is available through regularly-serviced coolers, the NCDRC said.
But in some theatres, water dispensers are located at places which are inaccessible to the consumer. In many cases, water is placed at secluded areas, away from the commoners' point of view.