THE DISTRICT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has asked a leading restaurant to pay a compensation of Rs 12,000, including Rs 5,000 as cost of litigation, to the complainant on account of deficiency in services. The forum has also asked the restaurant owners to deposit Rs 15,000 in the consumer legal aid account.
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Jagvir Singh Kang, a resident of Ludhiana, stated in his complaint that on June 20, 2015, he along with his wife and family friends had gone to Brooklyn Central for dinner. The bill for the dinner was cleared by the complainant’s friend. When the complainant and his wife were to leave the restaurant, he purchased two sealed water bottles from the counter of the restaurant, for which he was handed over a bill of Rs 312. It has been alleged that the maximum retail price (MRP) of each sealed water bottle was Rs 60 (inclusive of all taxes) which was sold by the opposite party for Rs 156. When confronted, Kang was informed that it included Rs 16.50 as VAT, Rs 12 as service charge and Rs 7.39 as service tax.
Since the complainant had to travel a long distance of 70 km and it was around midnight, he paid Rs 312 and left the place. He then filed a case in the consumer court.
In its reply, the restaurant stated that the water bottles were consumed within the premises of the restaurant and hence, the complainant was liable to pay for the taxes levied.
The forum held, “We have perused the bill issued by the restaurant placed at wherein the name of the serving steward is mentioned as Sashi and the table no. is shown as B1. The restaurant has failed to place on record any affidavit of the aforesaid serving steward, much less any CCTV footage to prove that the water bottles were actually consumed within the premises of the restaurant. Also, the restaurant has failed to place on record any other concrete evidence to support their aforesaid contentions.”
The forum observed, “The sequence of events of the present case clearly establishes the high-handedness of the opposite party of which the complainant became the victim and felt the brunt, as a result the complainant has been left with no alternative, except to knock the doors of this forum, which further aggravated his pain and harassment. Thus, on this account, we deem it proper to penalise the opposite party for indulging in such activity, thereby causing not only loss, mental agony and harassment to the complainant, but also giving rise to undesirable litigation and thereby wasting the precious time of this forum. Therefore, the opposite parties are penalised with cost of Rs 15,000 to be deposited in the Consumer Legal Aid Account No.32892854721, maintained with the State Bank of India, Sector 7-C, Madhya Marg, Chandigarh, in the name of Secretary, Hon’ble State Commission, UT Chandigarh.”