Dharamsala, September 13
The District Consumer Forum of Kangra has imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on a liquor shop owner of Dharamsala for overcharging a tourist for two beer and whiskey bottles. Besides imposing the fine, the consumer forum comprising its president Hemanshu Mishra and members Arti Sood and Narayan Thakur has suggested to the state government that the rates of liquor should be displayed in broad letters in shops so that consumers are not overcharged.
In a complaint before the forum, Tarun Chaurasia, a tourist, had stated that he bought a beer bottle and a whisky bottle from Sunil Wines at Khaniara. He was charged more than the maximum retail price (MRP) mentioned on the bottles. He requested the consumer forum to declare the act of selling liquor above the MRP as violation of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 and direct the shop owner to refund the extra amount charged from him along with a compensation of Rs 25,000.
The defendant in the case pleaded that the Assistant Controller, Legal Metrology, Dharamsala, had already imposed a fine on him. Besides, the complaint in the matter referred to unfair trade practices and did not come under the Consumer Protection Act. He also pleaded that the stock that he had sold was old and new MRP rates were not printed on the bottles.
The consumer forum held that as per the excise policy, the government had allowed a margin of 10 per cent to the permit holders on IMFL liquor and 30 per cent on beer. It held that the assertions of the defendant in the case that a fine had already been imposed on him and that the stock he sold was old were not maintainable.
The forum asked the defendant to give Rs 25,000 as compensation to the complainant for violating his rights under the Consumer Protection Act for charging above the MRP printed on the bottles.
Yonus Khan, Excise Commissioner, said it was illegal to sell liquor above the MRP. The Excise Department had been directed to impose a penalty on liquor shop owners who overcharge customers. If they were found to be habitual offenders, stringent action such as cancellation of their shop permits could also be taken.
It is illegal to sell liquor above the MRP. The Excise Department has been directed to impose a penalty on liquor shop owners who charge customers above the MRP. — Yonus Khan, excise commissioner
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