The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), New Delhi, has upheld the orders of the Chandigarh consumer court enhancing the compensation for the sale of spurious and hazardous 'imported' wafers to Rs. 50,000.
Karnica, a resident of Sector 18, Chandigarh, had purchased 'Tiffany Orange Cream Wafer', among other things, from Harry Hyperstore, Madhya Marg, Chandigarh, on February 18, 2009. While eating, she had felt some semi-solid substance in her mouth. She felt giddy and was treated for vomitting and diarrhoea at the Sector-16 general hospital.
A complaint was filed before the district consumer forum, Chandigarh, which found that a rubber band was embedded in the wafers. A compensation of Rs. 1,000 was awarded. Upon appeal the state consumer redressal commission enhanced the compensation to Rs. 7,000. An appeal was further filed with the NCDRC.
Advocate Pankaj Chandgothia said 'Tiffany Wafer' was an imported product and was not labelled properly in violation of Section 32 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. The name and address of the importer too was not mentioned.
The store objected, saying that there was no laboratory report in favour of the complainant. The NCDRC observed that the medical evidence and the observation of the district forum were sufficient to prove the case against the retailer.
According to Chandgothia, “Even though the price of the product is negligible, substantial compensation should be awarded in such cases so that it acts as a deterrent for traders.”
The national commission has directed the store to cough up Rs. 25,000 to the complainant within 45 days otherwise it would have to pay 9% interest on the amount.
“The wafers sold by the store are injurious to health, therefore we imposed further fine,” said the commission order, a copy of which was received here on Thursday, on the eve of 'World Consumer Day'.
Chandigarh consumer courts bar association president Chandgothia said such judgments were a shot in the arm of the consumer rights movement and would serve as a lesson for unscrupulous traders.