This Christmas, Govt. of India is all set to become the good Santa and help consumers against restaurants charging a higher price than the MRP.
Even if that means going against Supreme Court’s order on this issue!
If Govt. is able to overturn a judgement from Supreme Court, then it will be surely a big, massive move to help consumers, and it will establish the Govt. as the Santa Clause.
We try to decipher how it will happen..
Govt of India: We Will File Review Petition Against SC Order
In the latest salvo against restaurants charging more money for basic utilities such as water bottles, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan has declared that they will file a review petition against Supreme Court’s order on this issue.
Questioning Supreme Court’s assessment of the law, which is highly unusual in recent times, the Minister said,
“We will file a review petition against the supreme court order on MRP. The Court has not properly considered the definition of institutional consumer, which is laid down in the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011,”
In fact, supporting this claim that the laws have not been properly followed, B. N Dixit, Director, Department of Legal Metrology has said that once a seller decides to buy a product from a manufacturer, and sell to consumers, then relevant laws of Legal Metrology comes into effect, and this means that no product can be sold beyond the MRP printed.
This was under the new amended laws of Legal Metrology, which comes into effect from January 1st, 2018.
What The Supreme Court Ordered On MRP?
On December 12th judgement, India’s apex court had ruled that restaurants and hotels have the authority to charge customers beyond MRP in special cases, and this is this judgement which shall be challenged by Govt. now.
At that time, the bench headed by Justice Rohinton Nariman had ruled that there is an element of ‘service’ involved in the sale of water bottles inside restaurants and hotels, and thus, the consumers will have to pay extra if the service provider demands so.
This ruling was made after Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India approached the apex court against Govt.’s decision to jail any restaurant owner or hotel owner, if they charged anything beyond the MRP for a water bottle.
In their December 12th judgement, which was hailed as anti-consumer, the Bench said,
“We are, therefore, of the view that neither the Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1976 read with the enactment of 1985, or the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, would apply so as to interdict the sale of mineral water in hotels and restaurants at prices which are above the MRP,”
This issue has been going on since long, and Govt. had been a voracious supporter of consumer rights. In 2016, Govt. had directed all airport shops, multiplexes etc not to charge water bottles beyond MRP, which was held null and void after Supreme Court’s ruling on December 12th.
Will Govt. be able to become the good Santa here? Or Supreme Court will spoil the party?
We will keep you updated as the story unfolds…
And, Merry Christmas!
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