People’s happiness yesterday over the central government’s decision that mineral water bottles be sold at MRP was short-lived as the Supreme Court overturned it.
According to News 18, the central government told the Supreme Court that the practice of selling mineral water above MRP by restaurants, hotels, etc. was illegal and that offenders would be penalised.
The centre argued that along with the practice being against consumer interest, it may also lead to tax evasion.
The government said:
“Sale of packaged water over MRP by hotels and restaurants may have implications regarding tax evasion as a bottle purchased by a hotel at cost price, which should be sold at MRP or less, is being sold at much higher prices, leading to possible loss of additional revenue to the government in the form of service tax or excise duty etc.”
However, the Supreme Court held that provisions of Legal Metrology Act will not be applicable in selling bottled water in hotels and restaurants and therefore, no prosecution can be launched against them for selling above MRP.
Section 36 of Legal Metrology Act criminalises the sale of pre-packaged commodity above MRP.
As per another report by News 18, the court brought into consideration other composite elements of sale and service in hotels and restaurants which require investment such as the ambience. The bench observed:
“It is not a case of simple sale. Nobody goes to hotel to buy or take away a bottle of mineral water.”
Guess the consumers have to keep shelling out those extra bucks.