Sam­sung In­dia try­ing to get crim­i­nal charges quashed in dis­pute over screen size

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Sam­sung In­dia has asked the Supreme Court to pass a rul­ing on the sub­ject of whether dis­putes over screen size are civil in na­ture.

The case was ini­ti­ated by the pur­chase of a set in the year 2003, when cath­ode-ray tubes were still in use and flat pan­els had not yet dom­i­nated the mar­ket. Ashok Chau­r­dia, a res­i­dent of Ratlam in Mad­hya Pradesh, bought a set that he claimed had been ad­ver­tised as one bear­ing a 29-inch screen. How­ever, when he mea­sured the view­ing di­ag­o­nal with a mea­sur­ing tape, he dis­cov­ered that it was only 27 inches.

He then sent the com­pany sev­eral legal no­tices, but did not re­ceive any re­ply. Fol­low­ing this, he filed a crim­i­nal case ac­cus­ing Sam­sung of cheat­ing by way of fraud­u­lent rep­re­sen­ta­tion in its brochures. A trial court then is­sued bail­able war­rants against the com­pany and its ex­ec­u­tives.

Sam­sung de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tion and cited ref­er­ences to the cer­tifi­cates of the Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics and Ap­pli­ances Man­u­fac­tur­ing As­so­ci­a­tion which high­lighted that screen size re­ferred to the pic­ture tube and not the view­ing area. In this case, the dif­fer­ence be­tween what was promised and what was de­liv­ered was 1.8 inches or 6.2 per cent. Sam­sung also re­vealed that its ri­vals adopted sim­i­lar prac­tices.

The Mad­hya Pradesh High Court re­fused to quash the crim­i­nal case against the com­pany in Au­gust 2008 and ruled that prima fa­cie a case of cheat­ing had been es­tab­lished as the com­pany did not in­di­cate that a part of the pic­ture tube would be cov­ered by the bezel or frame. The court also al­lowed the trial to pro­ceed fur­ther.

At the Supreme Court, Sam­sung’s pe­ti­tion came up be­fore a Bench of Jus­tices Madan B Lokur and Uday Lalit on 24 Fe­bru­ary 2015, but was not heard as the lat­ter re­cused him­self, giv­ing the rea­son that he had pre­vi­ously ap­peared as a lawyer for the com­pany. The case is now sched­uled to be heard by an­other Bench.

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