Thursday, 1 August 2013

Krishnagiri consumer court fined 'activist' for frivolous petition 

Pramila Krishnan
Chennai, August1: A star hotel charging extra for liquor served in air-conditioned comfort bar doesn’t amount to unfair trade practice, a consumer court had held. The court also slapped a fine of Rs.10, 000
for the ‘activist’ for filing a frivolous complaint against a star hotel seeking hefty damages for the ‘mental agony’ it caused him by charging Rs.199 more for liquor and water served to him in its bar. Hotelier Subbaraj told me that the activist tried to extort money and made him attend the court 16 times by seeking repeated adjournments.

The Krishnagiri consumer court ordered N.Shiva of Hosur consumer rights protection sangam to pay a fine of Rs.10, 000 to the star hotel for filing a frivolous complaint without applying its mind. Shiva moved the court complaining that a Hosur resident K.Mathavan had liquor in star hotel named VS hotel. The hotel collected Rs. 199 extra after providing three bottles of beer and a bottle of water. "Mathavan suffered mental agony as the hotelier charged Rs.199 extra and there was a deficiency in the service," Shiva said in the complaint filed on behalf of Mathvan.

K.R.Pandiyan, counsel for hotelier said, “When Mathavan questioned the extra charge, hotelier explained that service tax and charges for using the air-conditioned facility were added in the bill. But he complained that hotelier charged more than Maximum Retail Price for beer and water. In reality, hotelier collected extra money for rendering the service and not for the product."

Hearing both sides consumer court judge M.Nandan said that collecting excess money by the star hotelier for the supply of beer and brandy with water to the complainant is not an unfair trade practice. “The hotelier has not committed deficiency of service or resorted unfair trade practice in selling the beer and brandy and water bottle providing extra food stuffs and A/C room facilities.  The complainant is not entitled to claim any compensation,” he said. In the judgement he mentioned that Shiva had to pay Rs.10,000 to the hotelier for
filing a frivolous complaint.