New Delhi: The Delhi High Court held Monday that a hotel or restaurant could charge more than the maximum retail price (MRP) for a bottle of mineral water from a consumer.
Justice Vikramajit Sen said: "Charging prices for mineral water in excess of the MRP printed on the packaging during the service of customers in a hotel and restaurant does not violate any of the provisions of the Standards of Weights and Measures (SWM) Act, 1976."
Pronouncing the judgment on an appeal by the National Restaurant Association of India against a Delhi consumer court ruling, the judge said, "The customer does not enter a hotel or restaurant to make a simple purchase of these commodities."
The customer goes to the premises to enjoy the ambience and orders for a bottle of water or any beverage along with other food material, observed the judge in his 36-page order.
Ordering a bottle of water or beverage did not fall within the definition of consumption only as contained under various provisions of the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.
Counsel Lalit Bhasin appearing for the association had argued that the supply of foodstuffs and drinks in hotels and restaurants are not in the nature of sale. The hotels or restaurants also create the ambience for the customers.
The service provided by employing scores of people should also be taken into consideration while fixing the price of such commodities, he said.