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Man sues Bengaluru hotel for overcharging 40 paise, fined Rs 4,000

BENGALURU, 13 March, 2022: In a case where a customer sued a restaurant in Bengaluru for overcharging him 40 paise, a consumer court recently ruled that over 50 paise can be rounded off to one rupee as per government rules.

The judges, however, chided the complainant for wasting the court’s time for publicity and ordered him to pay Rs 4,000 to the managing director of the restaurant as compensation.

It all began on May 21, 2021 when the senior citizen, identified as Murthy, visited Hotel Empire on Central Street and ordered food for takeaway. The staff gave him a bill of Rs 265. However, with the total amount coming to Rs 264.60, Murthy questioned the staff. When he failed to get a favourable response, he approached the Bengaluru consumer forum accusing the restaurant of looting customers.

The customer had sought Re 1 as compensation for alleged deficiency of service and stated that the incident had caused him ‘mental shock and agony’.

In a litigation that commenced on June 26, 2021, Murthy presented his case on his own while advocates Amshuman M and Adithya Ambrose represented the restaurant. The duo argued that the complaint was frivolous and vexatious, and the restaurant had charged the next round figure as tax in the bill and not for the food, which is permitted under section 170 of Central Goods and Services Tax Act-2017.

Following the proceedings lasting over eight months, the judges cited government of India circulars – one withdrawing up to 50 paise, and another stating any amount less than 50 paise to be ignored and over 50 paise to be rounded off to the nearest rupee. Citing that there was no deficiency on the part of the restaurant in charging 40 paise, the court said the complainant is not entitled to any relief in the case which he has used for personal publicity and wasted valuable time of the court, the opposite party and their representatives.

On March 4, 2022, the court asked the complainant to pay a compensation of Rs 2,000 to the opposite party apart from an additional Rs 2,000 towards its court expenses, all before 30 days from the order. Source: timesofindia.com