HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad High Court on Thursday made it clear that the authorities of Telangana State legal metrology department have no powers to impose restrictions on sale of non-packaged food items in cinema halls and multiplexes.
The observation has come amid a crackdown by the department on establishments overpricing food items. “It appears that the officials may even seek display of consumer helpline toll free number even on tea, coffee and soda,” the court remarked sarcastically while finding fault with the department’s orders. Justice M S Ramachandra Rao was dealing with a petition filed by the Multiplex Association of India and PVR limited challenging the order of the department on MRP.
Responding to the court’s observation, controller of legal metrology Akun Sabharwal said: “Owners of multiplexes and other cinema houses going to court against the department’s order is an anti-consumer act. We will follow law in true spirit.”Senior counsel S Niranjan Reddy, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that there was no objection with the restrictions imposed by the legal metrology in respect of packaged food items. However, the restrictions in respect of non-packaged food were not reasonable.
Responding to these submissions, the judge asked how it was possible to have declaration in the form of sticker if two samosas were purchased and served in a paper plate. If it was implemented then the cost of printing stickers and other expenditure would ultimately burden the consumers. Further, there is scope for further rise in price of samosa. There was nothing wrong if it was made mandatory for giving bills to each of the food item purchased by the consumer, the judge observed.