Popular restaurant Shah Ghouse in Hyderabad has been fined Rs 10,000 by the Legal Metrology Department for charging more than the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) for a soft drink.
This after a complaint was filed by Hyderabad-based anti-corruption activist, Vijay Gopal in January.
Vijay had visited Shah Ghouse restaurant in Shalibanda area of Hyderabad in January, where he was charged Rs 20 for a 300ml bottle of Thums Up, instead of the MRP of Rs 16.
“These are small issues, which people tend to ignore. However, nobody is supposed to pay extra on MRP. When I asked the restaurant about it, they did not respond. So, I filed a complaint with Legal Metrology department the next day,” says Vijay.
Following an inspection by the Legal Metrology Department, a case was registered against Shah Ghouse for contravention of rule 18 (2) of the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, which states “No retail dealer or other person including manufacturer, packer, importer and wholesale dealer shall make any sale of any commodity in packed form at a price exceeding the retail sale price thereof.”
Two months later, the Legal Metrology Department awarded a fine of Rs 10,000 to the restaurant.
But Vijay believes that the restaurant should have been charged under section 36(1) of The Legal Metrology Act, 2009, which states:
“Whoever manufactures, packs, imports, sells, distributes, delivers or otherwise transfers, offers, exposes or possesses for sale, or causes to be sold, distributed, delivered or otherwise transferred, offered, exposed for sale any pre-packaged commodity which does not conform to the declarations on the package as provided in this Act, shall be punished with fine which may extend to twenty-five thousand rupees…”
Arguing that the fine levelled upon Shah Ghouse is less, Vijay says, “I don’t know why the restaurant which earns lakhs a day has been fined only Rs 10,000, instead of Rs 25,000 as per the rules.”
This is not the first time a restaurant has been fined for overcharging customers in Hyderabad.
The Sarvi Hotel at Banjara Hills in Hyderabad had been fined Rs.20,000 in February, after it charged a customer Rs 40 for bottled water with the MRP of Rs 20.
This is not the first time Vijay Gopal has approached the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum.
Last year, he filed a complaint against two movie theatres, Tarakarama Theatre and Venkataramana Theatre at Kachiguda in Hyderabad for selling food products above MRP.
Vijay alleged that the theatre managements had overcharged customers on products like soft drinks, depending upon the show timings and crowd availability.
“My next target will be malls and other restaurants. If they don’t stop unfair practices, I will file a criminal case under section 420 and not just under the Legal Metrology Act,” warns Vijay Gopal.