High Court today grilled Jai Beverages for reportedly selling unhygienic soft-drink. District & Sessions Judge Shahzad Azeem held that Jai Beverages is liable for unfair trade practices, therefore, cost of litigation is quantified as sum of Rs.5000. In addition, punitive damages are quantified as Rs. one lakh, out of which Rs.10,000 be paid to the complainant and sum of Rs.90,000 shall go to Jammu & Kashmir High Court Legal Services Authority.
While directing, court observed that object and scheme of act of Consumer Protection Act, 1987, inter alia is to prevent sale of hazardous goods and if consumer comes across such hazardous goods, he can maintain a complaint in order to prohibit the sale of such hazardous goods or to remove the defects, including forum can award compensation and cost as well.
Under these circumstances, this forum is not powerless to award punitive damages as well, therefore, plea raised by the OP that since bottles of soft drinks are not consumed by the complainant, therefore, he did not suffer any health hazardous, is without any substance and same is turned down.
In this regard it is to be noted that once it has been shown to the satisfaction of this forum that manufacturing process is so unhygienic that even foreign particles visible to naked eyes are not noticed during manufacturing process or at the time of bottling, than there are no doubts that manufacturing process meets the requirement of Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, at all. Therefore, Court feels that Jai Beverages is required to be burdened with some punitive costs also for commercial un fair trade practice and for putting the health of general public in peril. JNF