No need to pay ex­tra for bot­tled wa­ter at cine­mas, malls and air­ports: Ram Vi­las Paswan

Consumer Voice - - In The News -

As con­sumers, we feel help­less when we get charged ex­tra for buy­ing pack­aged wa­ter at cin­ema halls, rail­way sta­tions and air­ports even though the max­i­mum retail price (MRP) is printed on the bot­tle. Charg­ing ex­tra for bot­tled wa­ter has been in prac­tice for a long time and so far no con­crete de­ci­sion has been made to stop this.

In this re­gard, we can re­fer to Sec­tion 36 of Le­gal Metrol­ogy Act, 2009, which says: Penalty for sell­ing, etc., of non-stan­dard pack­ages – 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, for the sec­ond of­fence with fine which may ex­tend to fifty thou­sand ru­pees, and for the sub­se­quent of­fence with fine which shall not be less than fifty thou­sand ru­pees but which may ex­tend to one lakh ru­pees or with im­pris­on­ment for a term which may ex­tend to one year or with both.

Yet, while the law has ex­isted since 2009, many con­sumers pay more than the MRP to buy bot­tled wa­ter and cold drinks. This is mainly be­cause con­sumers are not aware about their rights – that they can in fact deny to pay more than the MRP.

In this con­text, stat­ing that con­sumer fo­rums are re­ceiv­ing a huge chunk of com­plaints re­lated to prices of bot­tled wa­ter, the con­sumer af­fairs min­is­ter Ram Vi­las Paswan has de­clared that from now on bot­tled wa­ter will be sold at same MRP across all plat­forms. Ac­cord­ing to Paswan, pack­aged drink­ing wa­ter is of­ten sold at rates that are 10 per cent to 20 per cent higher and even sold with­out MRP at some lo­ca­tions. The com­plaints re­veal that a few com­pa­nies are ac­tu­ally print­ing dif­fer­ent MRPs on the bot­tles. Paswan has asked all com­pa­nies to sell their bot­tled wa­ter at the same price ir­re­spec­tive of the place where it is sold. The min­istry has asked such com­pa­nies to re­ply on the mat­ter and made it clear that bot­tled wa­ter will now be sold at the same price through­out the coun­try. Those who choose to ig­nore the rul­ing will be pe­nalised. The penalty for first-time of­fend­ers is Rs 25,000, for sec­ond time it is Rs 50,000, and there­after it is Rs 100,000 and im­pris­on­ment for one year.

It may be noted that in Fe­bru­ary 2016 the apex con­sumer com­mis­sion im­posed a fine of five lakh ru­pees on a mul­ti­plex in Jaipur for sell­ing pack­aged drink­ing wa­ter at more than the MRP. Even af­ter this, though, con­sumers are get­ting charged ex­tra be­cause no one re­ported the mat­ter.

The min­istry’s dec­la­ra­tion is yet to be­come law and many as­so­ci­a­tions are con­test­ing cases on this sub­ject in the courts to cir­cum­vent this. Un­til the fi­nal de­ci­sion is passed by a court, con­sumers can do their bit by be­ing alert and re­port­ing any­one vi­o­lat­ing the rule.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.