KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday set aside the price list published by the Pathanamthitta District Collector fixing the prices of various food items in the hotels and restaurants in Pathanamthitta district during the Sabarimala pilgrimage season.
However the court made it clear that the judgment will not stand in the way of the District Collector or the Travancore Devaswom Board from fixing the price of food items in the hotels and restaurants in Sabarimala and Pampa which are temporarily put up during each pilgrimage season.
A Division Bench comprising Justice P N Ravindran and Justice Anil K Narendran passed the order while considering the petitions filed by Kerala Hotel and Restaurants Association Pathanamthitta district seeking to quash the price list issued on November 13, 2011.
The petitioners also sought a declaration that the steps taken by the district administration to fix the price in their hotels and insisting on displaying it by replacing the existing price list are illegal and without jurisdiction.
The petitioners pointed out that though the representative of the association expressed its inability to reduce the price, the district collector unilaterally fixed the price of various items for hotels and restaurants during Sabarimala season.
The state government submitted that the price fixation was made in order to ensure that food stuffs at a moderate and reasonable price are made available to the pilgrims during the season. It also pointed out that the highhanded exploitation made by the hoteliers was noticed by the Division Bench earlier.
The court pointed out that Kerala Food Stuffs (Display of Prices by Catering Establishments) order mandated displaying the price of food stuffs sold in hotels/restaurants and the provision do not authorise the district administration either to fix the price of food stuff.