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Chilis still levying service charge, admn lethargic

Nearly a month after UT administration declared that levying service charges on food bills is illegal, lack of punitive action has meant that some city restaurants are continuing with this illegal practice and there are some repeat offenders.

chandigarh Updated: Nov 30, 2014 11:54 IST
Saurabh Duggal
Saurabh Duggal
Hindustan Times

Nearly a month after UT administration declared that levying service charges on food bills is illegal, lack of punitive action has meant that some city restaurants are continuing with this illegal practice and there are some repeat offenders.

Chilis Bar and Grill, Elante Mall, continues to levy 10% service charge on the food bill and restaurant general manager Sidharth has this to say on the continued flouting of administration order. “If we are doing anything illegal, then why is the administration not penalising us. We have not stopped it (levying service charge) even for a day. Nobody from the administration has ever approached us or notified us,” he added. It’s the same restaurant that has filed a petition against the administration’s order at the Punjab and Haryana high court.

“We have already moved a petition in the high court against the administration’s order. It is a management decision to levy service charge.”

THE FACT

The fact remains that the court has only asked the administration to file a reply on the petition and the latter’s order still stands. This HT correspondent dined in at Chilis Bar and Grill restaurant recently and was presented with a bill amounting to ` 896 (in picture), including an illegal service charge of Rs 70.

ADMN’S FAILURE

Till date, the administration has failed to come up with any formula of calculating the amount of the penalty for eateries that continue to flout its orders. UT assistant excise and taxation commissioner RC Bhalla said, “Service charge is illegal. We are working on the formula for imposing penalty, which will be heavy.”

‘CONTEMPT OF COURT’

City-based social activist Ajay Jagga, who had taken up the issue said the administration should issue public notices in newspapers or restaurant owners would continue to fleece customers, with authorities remaining lax in keeping a check. On Chilis levying service charge, Jagga said, “It is contempt of court, as till date, the administration’s order has not been stayed.”

First Published: Nov 30, 2014 11:45 IST