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