SELLING PRICE OF PACKED WATER BOTTLE IN RESTAURANTS /HOTELS
It often happens that while placing order for consumable food, service boy asks you if you want aqua water or mineral water. Mineral water for them means sealed bottled water. Service boy brings you refrigerated cooled bottle with tumbler for pouring it though do not open for you. Customer often says –how can you charge more than MRP.
Now what is the law on this point is the question
COURTS JUDGMENTS :
The first case on this subject was raised against Satyam Cinema at Janakpuri and investigation revealed that it was charged more than MRP on packed water bottle and hence it was considered unfair trade practice .This issue flare up to the extent that Hotel & Restaurant’s Association went up to Supreme court and it was finally settled with the following terms:
(Law on the issue: Weight &Measurement not applicable Price at which they are to be provided is clearly mentioned on the menu. That is proposal and making order is acceptance)
The question raised in the year 2007 in the case of Federation Of Hotels & Restaurants Association Of India & Ors V/S Union Of India was as to whether it is permissible for the hotel to charge their customers any price above the maximum retail price mentioned on the mineral water bottle .The court held in clear terms that charging price for mineral water in excess of the MRP printed on the packaging it does not constitutes a sale or transfer of the commodity to them .Billing by hotelier/restaurant for service and goods is one and indivisible. It is further elaborated that a customer when enters a hotel or restaurant ,it is not simply to make a purchase of these commodities .His direct purpose of going therein is more than this-it is to enjoy its ambience ,
Again in the year 2009,the same issue came up before the Hon’ble H.C. of Delhi in the case of Delhi Gymkhana Club Ltd V/S Union Of India.Here the issue was about the price printed on the cold drink and objection on charging more than the price printed thereon.It was held that food items and beverages ,packaged or in any other form for the consumption in a comfortable atmosphere of the club not to be treated as sale to the members .Price at which they are to be provided is clearly mentioned on the menu.Hence now settled law is :
1. Eatables consumed under a comfortable atmosphere, enjoying the ambience and other facilities in the hotel, restaurant or in the club cannot be separated for billing for their price Services and other taxes leveled by the Govt.
2. A restaurant provides many services, in addition to the supply of food. He provides furniture and furnishings, linen, crockery and cutlery, and in the eating places of today he may add music and a specially provided area for floor dancing and in some cases a floor show. Once a person enters the hotel/restaurant /club, he orders for the desired item, waiter comes, takes order, serve him on the table. Charges taken for any order include all these facilities whether it is water or a pinch of salt.
3. Buying and selling packed items on the road side or in a shop differs from selling and buying sitting in a restaurant/hotel with ambiance, service facility. Cost shall vary from MRP cost if you are under comfort zone made available to you in a restaurant /hotel /club etc.
4. Even when water bottle is served on the table in sealed condition, it can be charged with more than MRP because of service and ambiance provided to the customer.
5. At times packet of chips, namkeen in packed condition asked by the customer sitting in hotel/restaurant also attracts more prices because customer has asked not to give in plate and give in packed condition for the child for their own convenience.