Chandigarh residents and food lovers have a reason to rejoice as the UT administration’s order to declare service charge illegal will be implemented from April 1. The customers will not have to pay any service charge as the UT administration declared the levy as illegal early March.
The UT deputy commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi has constituted different teams which will carry out surprise checks in the eateries to find out whether the order is implemented in earnest by the hotels. If any eatery owner is found charging then he/she can be booked and the licence can be cancelled.
The orders issued by the department of food and civil supplies stated that service charge cannot be levied on food bills at hotels and restaurants.
The legal remembrancer had also given its view that the service charge was illegal and was not backed by any statute or rule.
The deputy commissioner (DC) has also imposed Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) recently so that there is no large assembly of people to protest against the order.
Currently eateries levy 6-12% service charge
At present, several restaurants and hotels in Chandigarh are levying service charge ranging between 6% and 12% on total food bills, claiming that it was meant to be distributed to the staff.
The orders were issued under Section 133 of the CrPC that confers special powers to the issuing authority. This implies that if a complaint is received, there will be a direct registration of a case under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.
The administration has also launched a helpline number 1967, where the residents can complain in case the charge is levied by eating joints.