(From the order dated 10.04.2012 in First Appeal No. 118/2011 of

State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, TAMILNADU,





D.K. Chopra

1039, Sector-A, Pocket-A

Vasant Kunj, New Delhi – 110 070                                     …Petitioner



Snack Bar

(A unit of Saptagiri Restaurant)

Kamaraj Domestic Terminal

Chennai Airport, Chennai – 600 027                        …Respondent   







For the Petitioner     :  Ms. Tushti, Advocate


For the Respondent : Mr. Bidin Kalappa, Advocate








1.      We were flummoxed to know that service providers/Traders, charge more money, almost, the double, from the ‘consumers’, with impunity.  No  ‘special’  law or rule, saw the light of the day, in favour of the Stall-owners, at  the Airports.


2.      The   respondent  has   a  Snack  Bar,   a   Unit   of    Saptagiri Restaurant  at  Kamraj Domestic Terminal,  Chennai Airport, Chennai.  Snack  Bar is  neither  a  Restaurant  nor  has  place  to sit.  It sells the goods,  as  if  it  were  a Stall.  It  sold ‘red-bull’ – ‘energy drink’, to Shri D.K.Chopra,  the  complainant/petitioner.  Its MRP is Rs.75/-, but it was sold  at  Rs.150/-, per can and Rs.300/-  for two cans, on 01.11.2009.  It  again  sold  one ‘red bull’ – ‘energy drink’,  at Rs.140/- on the same  day,  to  Sh.D.K.  Chopra, Resident of Delhi.  Legal notice was sent,  but it  did not ring the bell.  Ultimately, a complaint  was  filed  before the District Forum, with the prayer to pay a sum of  Rs.2,00,000/-  for  the harassment  and  mental agony  and Rs.11,000/-  towards legal expenses and to pay travel expenses.   Snack Bar, the respondent/OP did not  contest the case before the District Forum.  The District  Forum  dismissed the complaint.


3.      The  State Commission, too,  dismissed  the First Appeal, filed by the complainant, on the following reasons. Firstly, the petitioner/ complainant  has  failed  to  prove, what  is the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the product.  Secondly, he  had produced two Receipts, Ex.A1, in the sum of Rs.300/- and Ex.A-2, in the sum of Rs.140/-.  Ex.A-1, was  not  signed.  Ex.A-2, was signed.  Again, copy of the legal  notice  was  also not  filed.

4.      It is also transpired that the complainant  filed another  CC No.5/09,  before  the  District  Forum,  which   was   accepted   and compensation in  the  sum  of  Rs.10,000/-  was awarded.  The complainant has  yet  again, filed another complaint bearing No.7/2012,  which  has got  similar  facts and is still pending.


5.      There is delay of 10 days, in filing the instant revision petition before  this  Commission,  for  which,  an application for condonation of delay has been filed.  For the reasons stated in the application for condonation of delay, the said delay is hereby condoned.


6.      We  have  heard  the counsel  for the  parties.  The petitioner has placed on  record  copies of the legal  notice  which is undated and has  been  placed  as  Annexure - P3.   Annexure - P4  is the copy of receipt  of  Speed Post. 


7.      The petitioner/complainant has also produced before this Commission, the empty can of  redbull- energy drink.  Its MRP is mentioned as Rs.75/-.  Learned  counsel  for  the respondent/OP vehemently  argued  that  they are  entitled  to have  this much  amount  from  their  customers.  He has  filed copy of  the letter, dated 13.02.2009,  written to the DGM (Commercial) Airport Authority of India (IAD), Chennai  International Airport, Chennai.   At the Second page of  the said letter,  it is  mentioned,  as under :-

                             “Aerated Drink

                             Pepsi Cane         MRP

                             Mineral water      MRP  

                             Flavoured Milk/   40.00


                             Imported Juice

                             (Energy Drink)    140.00”


8.      This  is  a  True copy,  which  is not signed by any person, except its Proprietor, Shri Pradeep Kumar.  It does not bear the endorsement of Airport Authority.  It does not have sanction of the Airport Authority of India.   However, even if it is assumed that the Airport Authority  of  India has given  it’s  permission,  which, otherwise,  does not stand proved on the record, we are afraid, they are not empowered to do so.  The  Airport   Authority  cannot  disturb  the MRP rates.   There  should  be  some cogent  and  plausible reason.  A person  who  purchases a  redbull’ energy drink, while standing, is not obliged to pay the fees, which is prescribed for the Restaurant.  Restaurants  provide service.  A Snack Bar, just like a Tea Stall or a Pan/Beedi Stall,  hardly  provides  any service to its customers.  It  is also  noteworthy  to  mention  that  the  respondent  did not contest  the case before the District Forum. 


9.      The learned counsel for the petitioner has invited our attention towards the authority reported in Federation of Hotels & Restaurants Association of  India & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors., 139 (2007) Delhi Law Times 7, wherein it was held, as under :-

16. In England, a hotel under the Hotel Proprietors Act, 1956,  is  an  establishment  held out  by the proprietor as offering food, drink and if so, required, sleeping accommodation, without special contract,  to any  traveler presenting  himself  and  who appears  able  and  willing to pay  a reasonable sum  for  the services and facilities  provided.  This definition, which  is also the definition of  an inn, still excludes, as  formerly,  boarding houses, lodging houses and public  houses  which  are  merely  alehouses and in none of which  there is the obligation  to  receive and  entertain guests.  An inn-keeper, that  is to say, in the  present  days, a hotel proprietor,  in his capacity  as  an inn-keeper is, on the other hand, bound by the common law or  the  custom of  the  realm to receive and lodge in his inn all comers  who are  travelers  and to  entertain  them at reasonable prices without any  special or previous contract unless he has some reasonable ground of  refusal (Halsbury’s Law of England, 3rd Ed., Vol. 21, 445-446).  The rights  and  obligations of  hotel proprietors are governed by  statute  which  has more or less incorporated the common law.  The contract  between such a hotel  proprietor  and a traveler presenting himself  to him  for lodging is one which is essentially a contract  of  service and  facilities  provided  at reasonable price”.


10.    Counsel  for  the  petitioner has cited  far-fetched authority, which has no application, in this case.  The cases  of the Hotels, Restaurants, Inns, etc., are different.  They provide services to its customers. They entertain  the  customers at reasonable prices, without any ‘special’ or ‘previous’ contract.  Those cannot be equated with stalls.  No  furniture  and  furnishing  is  provided  by a Stall Owner.  No Linen, Crockery  and Cutlery is  provided to  the customers.   There  is  no question  of  entertainment  by music, as  per law, laid down in Northern India Caterers (India) Ltd., Vs. Governor of Delhi, 17 (1980) DLT 191 (SC) = [1979] 1 SCR 557.

11.    Moreover, the ‘redbull’ – ‘energy drink’  is  not  a ‘juice’.  It is an ‘aerated  drink’,  like a  ‘Pepsi can’.  By  no  stretch of imagination, it can be said  to be an  imported juice energy drink.


12.    There has  been  a  large  number  of  incidents  of exploitation of  ‘consumers’,  leading  to  a constant urge of a panacea.    To protect  the  ‘consumers’  from   the  excessive  prices  charged by the Traders, it is provided that the State declared the rates for the purchase  and  sale  of all marketable commodities,  in order  to protect  the ‘consumers’, from  arbitrary  exploitation by  the Traders.  It  is clear  that   the respondent has been charging ‘double’ amount.  Since  the year  2009,  and  even  before it,  it  must  have earned crores of rupees.  It led  the customers up  the garden  path.  The  ‘can’ does  not  mention that  the OP can charge ‘double’  of  the MRP.


13.    From  the  arguments,  it appears that the Airport  Authorities  are  working  in cahoots,  with  the Stall Owners, so that they  may  pay  them  higher  rate of  the licence,  which is not permissible,  in law.  Such  like evidence, as  the  price list, produced by the OP,  can be created,  at any  time,  which  has got exiguous value.


14.    MRP  itself,  includes  the commission/profit, for  a ‘shop-keeper’.  Under  these  circumstances,  we accept  the  revision petition, set aside the orders  of  the fora  below  and  allow the complaint.  The OP is directed  to pay compensation in the sum of Rs.10,000/-  to  the complainant, within 90 days, from  the receipt  of  this order, otherwise, it will  carry  interest  at  the rate of  9% p.a.,  till  realization.  However,  it is not  the  end  of  the road.  The OP  has  exploited  the  public, prior to, and  after  the incident.  The public  was taken for a ride, under  the very nose  of  the Airport  authority.  The OP  has no right  to  keep  and  misappropriate  the  public  money.   It  must  go  back  to  the public.  We, therefore, order that  the OP will deposit a sum  of Rs.50,00,000/-, the  estimated  rough amount,  with the  Consumer Welfare Fund,  by  means of a demand  draft  drawn in  favour  of  ‘Pay and Accounts Officer - Ministry of  Consumer  Affairs,  New Delhi’,  within 90 days,  from  the receipt  of  this order, otherwise,  it will carry interest  @ 9% p.a., till realization. Thereafter, the Registrar  of  this Commission  shall  report.



     (J.M. MALIK)




                                                        (DR.S.M. KANTIKAR)