The Supreme Court on 13 December 2017 ruled that hotels and restaurants are not bound by Maximum Retail Price (MRP) in selling bottled water. Thereby, hotels and restaurants can sell the bottled water above MRP.
A bench headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman ruled the provisions of Legal Metrology Act, 2009 will not be applicable on hotels and restaurants selling bottled water and therefore, hotels cannot be put on trial for selling mineral water above MRP.
The apex court observed that selling bottled water is not a case of a simple sale as nobody goes to the hotel to buy or take away a bottle of mineral water.
There are composite elements of sale and service in hotels and restaurants wherein consumers also enjoy the ambience created by these commercial establishments.
The Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) against Delhi High Court ruling which said that hotels and restaurants in the National Capital cannot sell bottled mineral water above the MRP.
On this, the Union Government issued affidavit against FHRAI saying that selling bottled mineral water above the MRP will attract monetary penalty and jail term for the management personnel of restaurants, hotels and multiplexes as per Legal Metrology Act, 2009.
Section 36 of Legal Metrology Act, 2009
• An offence under the Legal Metrology Act, 2009 can attract a fine of Rs 25000 or a jail term.
• Section 36 of the Act states that anyone involved in the sale, distribution or delivery of any pre-packaged commodity that does not conform to the declarations on the package is punishable by law with a fine of up to Rs 25000 for the first offence.
• The fine for the second offence can go up to Rs 50000 and subsequent offences will be penalised with fines up to Rs 1 lakh or one-year imprisonment, or both.
What: Ruled by Supreme Court
When: 13 December 2017