Found yourself complaining about being overcharged for a bottle of water at the cinema or a restaurant when you all you want is a glass to quench your thirst? Thanks to this Bengaluru resident, you are now entitled to get clean drinking water for free at all multiplexes and restaurants in the city.
A consumer court in Bengaluru directed all city multiplexes and restaurants in the city to provide clean drinking water for free to customers, reported Chetan R for Bangalore Mirror.
â€śWe 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. OP-2 shall report the compliance to the forum within 60 days,â€ť BM quoted the consumer courtâ€™s verdict made on April 6.
The Bangalore Urban District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (DCDRF) was hearing a case where a Bengaluru residentâ€” 47-year-old Sudha Katwa was denied free water by Kentucky Fried Chickenâ€™s (KFC) outlet in Yeshwantpur and was told to buy bottled drinking water on May 29, 2016.
The next day Sudha approached the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the licensing authority of these restaurants, and lodged a complaint saying how it was mandatory for restaurants to provide free water given water is a fundamental right.
However, after sensing inaction from the BBMP Chief Health Officer, Sudha went to court on October 1, 2016 and sought a compensation of Re 1. Sudha also asked the court to direct KFC and BBMP to offer free drinking water to visitors.
In her arguments, Sudha told the court that a restaurant was bound to provide water free of cost as it is the case for hospitals, railway stations, and bus stops. She also quoted a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) order in 2015.
â€śWater 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," NCDRC bench headed by Justice VK Jain had said.
The order also said failing to provide free order would be â€śan act of deficiency in rendering services to them." The order further said that alternative arrangements had to be made in case there is deficiency in water supply in some days.
During the hearing, KFC denied the charge and said it was a self-service restaurant chain and supplementary articles like water and ketchup are provided on demand to the customer at the counter. However, they could not provide any evidence of the same.
This led to the commission giving the verdict in favour of Sudha.
â€śIt is pertinent to note here that though she (Sudha) alleges unfair trade practice and deficiency of service on the part of opposite party OP-1 (KFC), she has sought compensation of Re 1 only. Therefore, one cannot allege that the complainant has come up with a false complaint with an oblique motive to extract money. Though OP-1 claims that they provide free drinking water to consumers, didnâ€™t provide any credible evidence to believe,â€ť the observation read.
The court directed KFC to provide her a compensation of Re 1 and Rs 5,000 as compensation for Sudhaâ€™s legal expenses.
â€śAs a responsible corporate citizen, KFC follows all government laws and regulations. We will abide by the Honorable courtâ€™s decision in this case. We would like to reiterate that as a company policy, we offer free drinking water to customers across all our restaurants,â€ť a KFC spokesperson said.