Mul­ti­plex or­dered to pay Rs 11,000 for re­fus­ing to al­low wa­ter bot­tle

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The Na­tional Con­sumer Dis­putes Re­dres­sal Com­mis­sion (NCDRC) has asked a mul­ti­plex to pay a pa­tron Rs 11,000 for re­fus­ing to al­low him to carry a Rs 20 wa­ter bot­tle in­side even though it had not made pro­vi­sion for free, clean drink­ing wa­ter in­side the cin­ema hall. The Com­mis­sion said a mul­ti­plex would be well within its right to dis­al­low a pa­tron to carry wa­ter bot­tle in­side the the­atre for se­cu­rity rea­son. How­ever, this could not be a ruse by mul­ti­plex own­ers to force pa­trons, who have a right to drink­ing wa­ter, to buy ex­or­bi­tantly priced bottled wa­ter from the cafe­te­ria in­side the cin­ema hall. The Com­mis­sion be­lieved that this con­sti­tuted un­fair trade prac­tice within the mean­ing of Sec­tion 2 (r) of Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act, 1986.

“If a cin­ema hall, while pro­hibit­ing car­ry­ing of drink­ing wa­ter in­side the hall, fails to make potable drink­ing wa­ter avail­able to the cine-go­ers, it will be an act of de­fi­ciency in ren­der­ing ser­vice to them, they hav­ing paid a sub­stan­tial amount for watch­ing the movie in a com­fort­able and sat­is­fy­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” a bench of Jus­tice VK Jain and Dr BC Gupta said.

“If such a de­fi­ciency is shown, the con­sumer fo­rum would be fully jus­ti­fied in award­ing suit­able com­pen­sa­tion to the com­plainant,” the bench em­pha­sised.

Three res­i­dents in Agar­tala had moved the fo­rum against Ru­pasi Mul­ti­plex for re­strain­ing them from car­ry­ing wa­ter bot­tles into the cin­ema hall while com­plain­ing that there was no pro­vi­sion for drink­ing wa­ter in­side the mul­ti­plex, ex­cept the op­tion of buy­ing highly priced wa­ter bot­tles from the cafe­te­ria.

The NCDRC said: “If drink­ing wa­ter is avail­able for pur­chase from the cafe­te­ria of the cin­ema hall, that, in our view, would not be enough, con­sid­er­ing the high cost of drink­ing wa­ter sold in cin­ema halls. Not ev­ery­one may be in a po­si­tion to af­ford drink­ing wa­ter at such huge price, which nor­mally is many times more than the price at which such wa­ter is avail­able in the mar­ket out­side the cin­ema halls.”

Air In­dia fined for of­fload­ing pas­sen­ger

Of­fload­ing a pas­sen­ger due to over­book­ing has cost Air In­dia Rs 50,000.

“Off-load­ing is done by air­lines for com­mer­cial gain. Air­lines are not con­cerned with the prob­lems faced by pas­sen­gers, whose sched­ule goes hay­wire in spite of hav­ing con­firmed tick­ets in hand,” said the New Delhi Con­sumer Dis­putes Re­dres­sal Fo­rum.

The com­plainant, a res­i­dent of Noida, was awarded the com­pen­sa­tion to be paid by Air In­dia, be­sides lit­i­ga­tion costs of Rs 15,000.

The com­plainant had booked a seat on an Air In­dia flight from Mum­bai to Frank­furt on 8 Jan­uary 2007. He was off­loaded by the air­lines, which of­fered him an alternate flight to Frank­furt via Lon­don. This was not ac­cept­able as the com­plainant did not have a Lon­don visa. He was re­funded the ticket amount af­ter de­duc­tion of taxes. The com­plainant said the staff was very rude in han­dling the mat­ter, which forced him to move the fo­rum.

The air­line ad­mit­ted that the com­plainant was off­loaded as a stan­dard prac­tice in cases of over­book­ing and was of­fered an alternate flight via Lon­don, which re­quired a tran­sit visa.

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