NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION

NEW DELHI

 

REVISION  PETITION  NO. 3566 OF 2006

(from the order dated  9.10.2006 in Appeal No.2137/2006

  of the State Commission, Bangalore)

 

Cadbury India Ltd.

Office at No.19B

B. Desai Road

Mumbai – 400 026.                                                      … Petitioner

 

Versus

 

L. Niranjan 

R/o  No.89, West of Chord Road,

II Stage, 10th A Cross,

1st Main, Mahalakshmipuram

Bangalore – 86                                                             …Respondent 

 

BEFORE :

 

                   HON’BLE MR.JUSTICE M.B. SHAH, PRESIDENT

                   MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO, MEMBER

 

For the Petitioner                   :         Ms. Surekha Raman, Advocate

 

04.12.2006

ORDER

 

            Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner.

 

          Complainant   purchased   a Cadbury chocolate for presenting it as  a  birthday gift.  Unfortunately, when the said chocolate was opened, it   was   found   that   chocolate   was   infested   with worms and fungus.  As   it   was a birthday party,  the  situation became unpleasant.

He, therefore, approached the District Forum, Bangalore for compensation. 

Before the District Forum it was contended by the petitioner that it is multi-national company and is always complying with the norms prescribed by various legislations, such as, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, the Standards of Weights and Measures Act etc.  The District Forum, on the basis of the application filed by the complainant, sent the product to the Public Health Institute for analysis  and the report was obtained.  As per the report, it was infested with worms.

          However, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner-multi-national company vehemently contended that if the chocolate is not kept  in a cool condition, petitioner cannot be held liable.  She further submits that the chocolate was sent to Public Health Institute for analysis after lapse of four months and the same was in the possession of the complainant.  She, therefore, submits that the  petitioner is not liable because the complainant has failed to establish that the chocolate was infested with worms.

          It may be true that in a criminal prosecution under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act,  petitioner may get benefit of doubt for some

 

procedural lapse on the part of the complainant but before a Consumer Forum, question which is required to be decided is why a small person, who  purchased a birthday gift, would file a false complaint against a multi-national company and litigate for a small amount not only before the Consumer Fora but before the Apex Court.    In our view, there is no reason to disbelieve the complainant who immediately approached the Consumer Fora with the chocolate which was infested with worms.     Public Analyst’s report is a subsequent aspect.

          Regarding the contention that such chocolates are required to be kept or preserved in a cool condition which may require refrigerator, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner submits that if a retailer or vendor of such chocolates commits something wrong in not preserving it at appropriate place, manufacturer is not liable.  In our view, there is no restriction by the petitioner that the retailer not having a refrigerator should not sell such chocolates.  It is for the manufacturer to watch that unauthorized persons do not carry out the business of selling such perishable articles   which may become hazardous for the health, if not properly preserved.  On    the    contrary,   before  the District Forum,

 

 

petitioner  has given an undertaking that  reasonable steps would be taken to see that products are stored under hygienic  condition by providing visi-coolers and other storage devices to the retail outlets.  

However, it is pointed out  that the duty of maintaining hygienic condition is the primary responsibility of the Local Health Authority  which issues licences for storage  to the retailers.    It is true that it is the duty of the Local Health Authority  to take steps and test such articles every now and then but unfortunately that practice is not prevailing in our country for various reasons.  But, that would not give licence to multi-national companies to exploit  the situation and take benefit by contending that chocolate, in question, was sent after few months by forgetting the fact that complainant himself has verified that chocolate was infested with worms.

          It is also admitted that due to high fat content the chocolate is not conducive to fungal growth and such occurrence can be associated with bad storage conditions, which are largely prevalent at retail outlets.  The aforesaid admission makes it clear that with the bad storage conditions   which   are largely   prevalent    at the retail outlets, such fungal   growth   can    occur.    If   such    is   the   position,    not   only    Local   Authority should take action and verify such chocolates but also it is the duty of the manufacturer that such things do not occur. 

          To prevent this practice, we hope that petitioner, in their advertisements, as a matter of routine, should make it clear that consumer shall not purchase such chocolates from a retailer who is not having fridge or visi-cooler.

          For considering further contentions, notice to the respondent returnable on 14.3.2007.

          Meantime, petitioner shall deposit Rs.10,000/- as awarded by the State Commission plus Rs.5,000/- as costs to the respondent for coming here, with the District Forum.

 

 

……………………………………J.

(M.B. SHAH)

PRESIDENT

 

……………………………………...

(RAJYALAKSHMI RAO)

MEMBER

SG/8

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION

NEW DELHI

 

(MENTIONED  MATTER)

 

REVISION PETITION NO. 3566 OF 2006   

 

Cadbury India Ltd.                           …      Petitioner

  Versus

L. Niranjan                                        …      Respondent

 

BEFORE :

HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE M.B. SHAH, PRESIDENT

                        MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO , MEMBER

 

For the Petitioner                  :           Ms. Surekha Raman, Advocate

 

8.12.2006

O  R  D  E  R

 

          Heard the Learned Counsel for the Petitioner. Order dated 4.12.2006 is clarified. Execution proceeding before the District Forum is stayed till further order on the condition that Petitioner would comply the order dated 4.12.2006 by depositing the amount with the District Forum.

 

…..………………………..J.

(  M.B. SHAH )

PRESIDENT

 

 

…..…………………………..

 ( RAJYALAKSHMI RAO  )

MEMBER

 

Mk/mentioned matter