HC reprieve for South Mumbai restaurant after it charges ₹206 extra for soft drink
The notice was issued calling upon the establishment as to why action should not be initiated against it for charging Rs244 for a bottle of soft drink having printed MRP of Rs38mumbai Updated: Sep 24, 2017 01:07 IST
In a reprieve for Pizza By The Bay at Marine Drive, the Bombay high court on Tuesday restrained the Weights and Measures department from taking any coercive steps against the restaurant for purported violations of the legal metrology by charging well over the maximum retail price (MRP).
A division bench of justice Shantanu Kemkar and justice Anuja Prabhudessai also granted liberty to the department to take an appropriate decision on the reply submitted by Mars Enterprises and Hospitality Private Limited, which owns the restaurant, to the weights and measures notice of July 3.
The notice was issued calling upon the establishment as to why action should not be initiated against it for charging Rs244 for a bottle of soft drink having printed MRP of Rs38. On June 16, an inspector of legal metrology found that the restaurant had been charging an exorbitant sum of Rs244 for a soft drink bottle priced at Rs 38. The notice sought to initiate action against the establishment for charging over and above printed MRP.
It was, however, argued on behalf of Mars Enterprises and Hospitality that at a restaurant what takes place is only service and not merely the sale of goods and therefore the weights and measures inspector had not jurisdiction at all to enter its premises in his official capacity and issue notice.
Senior advocate Virag Tulzapurkar, who represented the restaurant owner, submitted that at a restaurant, it’s the service for which a customer is charged, apart from the value of the food articles supplied to the customer, and a restaurant can charge whatever amount it may wish to charge for the “service” rendered at the restaurant, irrespective of printed price of the food article.
He said the entire action taken by the inspector was without jurisdiction and authority, and therefore, liable to be struck down. The senior advocate also alleged that no “over-the-counter” sale is allowed at the restaurant, but the inspector snatched the bottle from the waiter who tried to serve it to him inside the restaurant.
Assistant government pleader Kedar Dighe refuted the charge of snatching and pointed out that the restaurant had issued a bill for the sealed soft drink bottle and it was seized under panchnama that is counter signed by a restaurant representative and notice was issued after noticing overcharging.
Dighe also pointed out that the restaurant had levied sum of Rs 5 towards charity for some private school and this was being done without knowledge or consent of the customers and charity amount cannot be included in restaurant bill in this manner.