The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission imposes fine of Rs 50 lakh on Snack Bar at the Chennai Airport, a unit of Saptagiri Restaurant

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission imposes  fine of Rs 50 lakh on Snack Bar at the Chennai Airport, a unit of Saptagiri Restaurant

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDR) has fined Rs 50 lakh for charging Rs 75 extra on drink, Redbull by the vendor- Snack bar unit of Saptagiri Restaurant. The drink was charged double the amount for which the consumer approached the Consumer forum.

The  petitioner one Mr D K Chopra bought the drink at the Airport in October 2009. The Snack Bar at the Airport collected Rs150 for a can of Red Bull while the retail price was Rs75. This made him file a legal notice which was not replied by the shop owner.  Mr Chopra then  approached the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF) for a compensation of Rs2 lakh for "harassment and mental agony," and Rs11,000 as "travel and legal expenses." But the forum dismissed his complaint.

The petitioner was in no mood to give up. He filed appeal in the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC).Unfortunately this was also dismissed by the forum on the ground that the petitioner failed to prove the MRP of the product and the two receipts for purchasing the drinks, which were not signed by the owner.

Filing before two fora, he  approached the NCDRC by way of Revision Petition. The Counsel for Snack Bar submitted a  letter from the Deputy General Manager, commercial at Chennai international airport which entitled the snack - bar to collect twice the MRP. The letter mentioned the price of imported juice/energy drink as Rs 140.

The Commission observed "by no stretch of imagination Red Bull can be called an imported juice energy drink.""Such a price list can be created any time and has exiguous value,". Further the letter did not have endorsement from the Airports Authority of India.

"Even if it is assumed that AAI had given permission, they are not empowered to do so. AAI cannot disturb MRP rates," a snack joint was "like a tea/ beedi stall,a person could not be forced to pay the prices which have been prescribed for restaurants. The stall owner has no right to misappropriate public money”.

The  Forum has directed snack bar owner to deposit the fine in the consumer welfare fund under the Ministry  of Consumer Affairs.