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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Noise pollution

Response to a comment from a reader (the reader didn't leave a trackback URL, so posting it here):
"WHy does one constrcut a house with the utmost details on the ventilation? Cos one wants to enjoy sitting in the Verandah and open the windows to let the fresh air in. After constructing a beautiful house in Bangalore taking huge amounts of loan, we are uinable to enjoy these little joys of life. The problem: our neighbor who runs not one but two machines that make some kind of printing balls( in a residential area!). We have tried to reason with him saying that we need our peace for atleast Sundays and if his livelihood depends on the Machine running, then he should do so between 10 and 5 pm. T othis the man takes huge offence and brags about the heft bribes he has paid to get his'licence'!
My spouse says that since we both work,come back at odd hours, have a little girl and our house is made of a lot of glass, we should not take "panga" with the neighbour and let his "factory" die a natural death( he is an alcoholic and often gets drunk and abuses everone around- so my spouse assumes that he is self destructive too!).
Everyday life is becoming touger with the volume from his factory/house increasing. what can we do?"

Well, the first step is to understand your rights. A bit of search on the net will throw up various cases of noise pollution dealt with by the courts around India. Hopefully, you have already read the bit about noise pollution in the post (Fight for your rights! - Sidenote 2) on which you posted the comment. I have tacked noise pollution earlier against a temple opposite my house and the details are given in that post.

In your case, I would say that the Pollution Control Board can help. You can have a look at this notification from the Supreme Court regarding noise pollution. Please also see the KSPCB Citizen's Charter and KSPCB Grievance Redressal mechanism.

Best of luck, and please keep me informed about what steps you take and what happens.

Charging over MRP at airports - 8

Read Charging over MRP at airports - 7 first.

Got a simple affidavit done on Monday, just cost Rs 30 to get the notary to stamp it. As usual he wanted me to get it printed on stamp paper, but I'm getting smarter everyday. I printed it on plain paper and it was quite fine with the court. At least they didn't refuse it when I submitted it on 14th.

14th was another donkey hearing. All I did was get there and submit the affidavit. The judge asked me to submit an empty package of the item. The O.P. submitted a sub-rejoinder to my previous response. This time they threatened to complain to AAI about taking of photographs in a highly sensitive area. Ohhh... what will they do next, threaten to cry? Anyway, much of the rest of their statement was the usual yabba-dabba-do. They are a restaurant, they are allowed to overcharge, etc etc. However, there was one point of minor interest: now they are saying that this case does not come within the jurisdiction of the Consumer Court. Huh?

So Aug 24th is D-day. I have to present my arguments and try to convince the judge. Gonna be tough, but gonna be fun as well. I got an interesting request from NakedDesserts. She wants to attend the hearing when they start arguments. So that be 24th August. Time 11am. Address: Seshadripuram Consumer Court. If anybody is interested, pls drop in. Its an open house, the judge and I and God knows who from the O.P. will be having a friendly chat over chai and fags. Ho ho ho ;)

Continue reading Charging over MRP at airports - 9.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Charging over MRP at airports - 7

Read Charging over MRP at airports - 6 first.

On 17th July, my wife went to the Consumer Court. Someone from the O.P. showed up and gave the court and my wife a 20 page legal document filled with B.S. They blatantly claimed the following:

(a) Incident did not occur
(b) They did not overcharge
(c) They are allowed to overcharge because they are a restaurant, and provide "starred" service
(d) They will sue me
(e) They, NOT the AAI, are the one providing the service and the ambiance that passengers enjoy at the airport
(f) They pay huge licensing fees to AAI an they are "justified" in over charging

This document was signed by the Port Lounge president, sealed by their attorneys and has been sent from Mumbai. So what is this, scare tactics for the simple minded?

It also quotes from a previous judgment by the High Court regarding this issue of overcharging by restaurants.

The Federation of Hotels & Restaurants Associations of India has also obtained a stay order from the Delhi High Court on the MRP matter, which overrules the previous judgment given by the State Commission. More about this matter can be found in the newsletter of FHRAI. This stay order prevents consumer protection bodies from awarding compensation to consumers who complain against hotels and restaurants.

So, I am fine with this. As I've posted before, this is correct... one pays for the service and the ambiance when one goes to a hotel or restaurant. But its not the same with a snack bar in an airport.

In the next hearing after that on 27th July, I submitted a rejoinder to their response giving my arguments and evidences. I argued that the premises in the airport of the O.P. cannot be called a restaurant, can only be called a snack bar. There was no service, etc. I've also asked them to provide me a copy of the contract that they signed with AAI to check what it says regarding payment terms, and pricing of items. I also submitted photographs of the shop by a phone camera, taken by a friend who was passing through B'lore airport the night before the hearing. He took the photos late at night, mailed me the next morning. I printed them out and attached them to my rejoinder before rushing to the court in the morning! In my rejoinder, I submitted copies of two articles that had appeared in newspapers earlier: Overcharging costs cineplex dear and MRPs take-off at the airport.

The representative from the O.P. gave me an affidavit claiming that the incident never occurred and I gave him a copy of my rejoinder. Next hearing was set for 7th August. Dunno what happens then. As usual, the judge likes to say or explain things as less as possible. So I am totally in the dark about what happens next. Next case I will try to ensure that I get the Cunningham Court, at least the judge explains whats going on.

7th August turned out to be one of those donkey hearings. I went all the way to the court to be told to submit an affidavit in the next hearing, on 14th July, saying that the incident had occurred and giving the facts of the case. Later I was talking to the court attendant. He said that now it will proceed quickly. Next hearing I will submit the affidavit. The next hearing after that is marked for arguments, and the ruling will be given at the next hearing after that.

So lets see what happens. On Monday I have to run around getting an affidavit done and then submit the same on Tuesday.

Continue reading Charging over MRP at airports - 8.