Hyderabad: Despite the latest amendment to the Legal Metrology Packaged Commodities (LMPC) rules by the Central government stipulating imprisonment for selling packaged mineral water at dual MRP, this practice continues in the city.
The Centre has notified the LMPC amended rules 2017, which expressly prohibits dual MRP on mineral water bottles and other pre packaged commodities. But multiplexes, cinema halls, airports and bus stations continue to sell at prices higher than the MRP.
The penalty for overpricing mineral water bottles is Rs 2,000 for a first offence and six months imprisonment for a second offence.
Aggrieved by the inaction of the Consumer Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies and Legal Metrology departments in enforcing the rules and also the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, Pendyala Satish Kumar has moved a PIL before the Hyderabad High Court.
He pointed out that drinking water was crucial for humans. “The sale and distribution of packaged drinking water is regulated by the Legal Metrology Act, 2009, and Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules. It is mandatory for manufacturers, retailers, dealers, packers, sellers and distributors to sell packaged drinking water at the maximum retail price (MRP).”
He complained to the court that despite stringent laws being enacted by the government, consumers are being charged above the MRP for bottled water and dual MRP for same quantity and same brand mineral water in multiplexes, cinema halls, hotels and restaurants, airports and bus stations.
He said that MRP is mandatory data inscribed on every pre-packaged commodity and as per law all concerned persons are required to adhere to the MRP listed on the commodity.
He reminded the court that in a case before the National Consumer Redressal Commission in New Delhi in 2016 and another in the District Consumer Redressal Forum in Hyderabad in April 2017, it was declared that “there cannot be two MRPs except in accordance with law” and dual MRP is illegal and unfair trade practice.
He said that after notifying the amended Rules 2017 by the Centre, the Karnataka government in May 2017 conducted raids on malls and multiplexes across Karnataka for overpricing and selling mineral water above the MRP and the Maharashtra government also issued notices to manufacturers not to resort to dual MRP or other misuse.
As the legal metrology department and civil supplies department of Telangana have not taken any action against the defaulters or tried to bring awareness among the consumers, he has moved the High Court and asked the state government to respond to his PIL.