In order to stop vendors from selling cold drinks at prices higher than MRP, Consumer Affair Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has warned of high penalty and even a jail term.
At an event commemorating the 47th World Standards Day in Delhi, the minister said that packaged water is sold at prices at 10-20% higher than the selling price in some place and sometimes the MRP is not even mentioned.
According to the law, one can be punished with a fine of Rs 25,000 on the first offence and Rs 50,000 for the second. For subsequent offenses, a fine of Rs 1 lakh can be imposed which could also lead to a jail term.
In a current case, the apex consumer forum has imposed an exemplary cost of Rs 1.56 lakhs for charging a customer Rs 5.5 over the MRP for a cold drink.
The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission imposed the cost reiterating earlier judicial rulings barring hotels and eateries from charging above the MRP. The hotel opposed the plea made by the complainant contending that it took the additional amount as service charges for various facilities.
The Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that water bottles are mostly sold at higher rates in airports and multiplexes despite court orders. He urged consumers to be more alert and file complaints in such situation.
“Consumers need to be more aware and file complaints. If there is not complaint, how can we take action?” the minister observed.
Earlier in February, the apex consumer commission had also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on a multiplex in Jaipur for selling packaged drinking water at more than maximum retail price and dismissed its plea challenging a state commission order penalizing it.
Consumer affairs ministry officials said now with more options available to lodge complaints through online mediums, people should register their grievances.
“We have been pursuing people to demand receipt of whatever they buy so that it can be a proof to file a complaint” said an official.