New Delhi: The Delhi government has been asked by a consumer forum here to check the "unfair trade practice" of overcharging diners by restaurants for the mineral water served during meals and to consider prohibiting the same.
The forum has also imposed a penalty of Rs 20,000 on restaurant Moti Mahal Deluxe for charging its customer more than the maximum retail price (MRP) for mineral water bottle.
The East District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum`s order came on a plea by Delhi resident Raghav Mahajan who had alleged that the restaurant humiliated him before his family and his guests by insisting that he pay the higher price for the mineral water, due to which he had to return one of the bottles unopened.
"We agree with the submission of the complainant (Mahajan) that in presence of the guest to whom he has taken to the restaurant for dinner, raising of such issue might have been embarrassing for him and the insistence on the part of the OP (Moti Mahal) may have caused humiliation.
"Holding the OP guilty of unfair trade practices and deficiency of service, we award a sum of Rs 20,000 as penalty. Out of this an amount of Rs 15,000 shall be deposited in the Consumer Legal Aid Fund and Rs 5,000 shall be paid to the complainant," the forum said.
The bench presided by N A Zaidi also directed, "a copy of this order be served upon the Government of NCT of Delhi for checking this unfair trade practices prevalent in the various restaurant in Delhi through the concerned department. If necessary a notification may also considered to be issued prohibiting charging of more than MRP price by restaurants."
The restaurant in its defence had contended it is allowed under the law to charge beyond the printed MRP as diners also get to enjoy the ambiance available and they are not there to purchase a commodity.
The forum, however, rejected the contention on the basis of various judgments of the State Commissions, which had held charging beyond the MRP as unfair trade practice.