Prof takes restaurant to consumer forum over vrat ki thali,loses case

A ‘Vrat ki thali’ for the Navratras became the cause of dispute between an associate professor in Foods & Nutrition Department at Government Home Science College,Sector 10,Chandigarh,and Sindhi Sweets,a popular city restaurant.

Written by Rajni Shaleen Chopra | Chandigarh | Published:January 4, 2012 1:29 am

A ‘Vrat ki thali’ for the Navratras became the cause of dispute between an associate professor in Foods & Nutrition Department at Government Home Science College,Sector 10,Chandigarh,and Sindhi Sweets,a popular city restaurant.

In her complaint made to the Forum,Sector 11 resident Nirupa Marwaha stated that during the days of her Navratra fast in April 2011,she visited Sindhi Sweets. She ordered the ‘Vrat ki thali’,which included one alu tikki,one chila,sawon ke chawal,panir sabzi,alu sabzi,alu ka raita,sabudana kheer and fruit chat.

Marwaha said that when the waiter served the thali,a round fried ball in curd was served in place of ‘alu ka raita’. When questioned,the waiter insisted that the ball was made of potato.

On tasting it,Marwaha felt that there was dal in the ball,and asked the waiter to taste it. He refused on the ground that he too was observing the fast.

When Marwaha complained to the manager,he called for a dry potato ball from the kitchen,smelt it and denied that there was any dal in it. Marwaha told them that she is a professor in the Foods & Nutrition Department of Government Home Science College,Sector 10,and that ingredients of cooked products can be identified through sight,taste,smell and touch. But the manager refused to taste it on the ground that he too was fasting. The manager offered to change the ‘Vrat ki thali’ but Marwaha refused on the ground that food is God’s gift and should not be wasted.

The manager then sent her the bill with three sticks of kulfi as a complimentary sweet dish,which she refused to accept. Marwaha said she carried a potato ball with her and got it examined by the Head of the Department of Foods and Nutrition at Government Home Science College.

Marwaha said the head of the department also observed that there was either arrowroot or bread in the potato ball. On this,Marwaha made a written complaint to the manager,stating that her Navratara fast was broken due to unscrupulous business practice of the restaurant. When there was no response,she filed a case in the Forum.

In his reply,the manager of the restaurant stated that the ‘Vrat ki thali’ served by them was made of only the ingredients allowed during the Navratras fast. The store offered a replacement of the thali,which the customer refused. The manager added that a waiter cannot be forced to taste a dish he serves.

In her support,Marwaha submitted the observations made by Madhu Nanda,Associate Professor & Head,Department of Foods and Nutrition at Government Home Science College,Sector 10. Nanda stated: “On smelling the sample,I immediately identified the presence of urd pulse in it. On breaking the sample piece and examining its texture and appearance,I was able to identify the use of arrowroot/bread for binding.”

Marwaha also placed on record the certificate of Pandit Mahadev Prashad Sukhla of Sanatan Dharam Mandir.

After examining the case,president of the Forum PD Goel and members Rajinder Singh Gill and Madanjit Kaur Sahota said that mere assertion could not be considered as evidence,and Marwaha had not placed on record any report from a laboratory to prove her contention.

The restaurant placed on record the affidavit of a customer Sanjay Jain,who had consumed the ‘vrat thali’ the same day,and stated that the food was in accordance with the items listed on the menu.

In this light,the Forum dismissed the complaint made by Marwaha.

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