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The pricing of bottled water by the restaurants has been a subject of debate since 2003. The supreme court has ordered that the restaurants are allowed to charge over Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the bottled mineral water. The supreme court has upheld the judgement of Delhi High Court passed on the application of Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India allowing the restaurants to charge over and above the MRP of bottled water.
The objection raised by the centre in the matter has been rejected by the supreme court. The court said that the over charging of water by the restaurant is justified as there is a service element present in the hotel or restaurant industry. Justice Rohinton Nariman said that these establishments cannot be prosecuted and applied with the provisions of law to sell the items above MRP. It was further noted by the court that the restaurants not work for sale of water and nobody goes to restaurant to simply buy a bottle of water.
In october, 2015, the supreme court had sought response on the appeal by the federation of hotel and restaurant association from the government. The order of high court in 2015 allowed the centre to initiate the proceeding for the over charging of bottled water by the restaurants.
The government had argued in the matter that the offence of over charging of water is punished with the fine of Rs 25,000 for the first time and fine of Rs 50,000 for committing the offence second time.
As per the reports of the government, it is stated by the government that as per the provision of the Legal Metrology Act selling the pre-packaged bottle cannot be sold over MRP. It was further stated by the government that the selling of water above MRP also leads to tax evasion by the restaurants . However, the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India has stated that the provisions of Standard of Weights and Measures Act, Packaged Commodities Rules and Legal Metrology Act are not violated by selling of bottled water above MRP.