Customers in restaurants, hotels, eateries and multiplexes in Bengaluru can now demand clean drinking water free of charge.
An order issued by the BBMP on Friday mandates that all such establishments should provide safe and free drinking water to customers in their premises, The Times of India reported.
The notice comes after a consumer court had given the same direction in a case filed by a social activist earlier this year.
The Bengaluru Urban District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (DCDRF) was hearing a case filed by 47-year-old Sudha Katwa, after she was denied free water on May 29, 2016 by an outlet of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in a Yeshwantpur mall. She was instead told that she would have to buy bottled drinking water.
Sudha had argued that restaurants were bound to provide free drinking water, as done in hospitals, bus stops and railway stations, and that it was part of their service. She also quoted a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) order in 2015, relating to cinema halls, which said, "Water being a basic necessity for human beings, it is obligatory for the cinema hall to make it available to the movie-goers in case they decide not to allow the drinking water to be carried inside the cinema hall."
The Consumer Forum had said in April, "We direct OP-2 (BBMP) to ensure that all the multiplexes, restaurant and eateries houses in limits of BBMP provide free clean drinking water to all the consumers/customers throughout the year."
The Forum had also asked authorities to report to it within two months and submit a compliance report of its order.
Speaking to TOI, Sudha said, "People are asked to pay for drinking water though it is the responsibility of the hotel/eatery to provide it for free. In some cases, eateries provide water but the surroundings are unhygienic. Most of the time, it's kept next to toilets. A mall in west Bengaluru has 34 food outlets on one of its floors and drinking water is available at one remote corner. In most malls, customers are forced to either run around to find water or pay for water bottles."
Deccan Herald reported that apart from providing free drinking water facility, establishments should also have clearly visible display boards telling customers where to find it.