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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Charging over MRP at airports - 11

Read Charging over MRP at airports - 10 first.

Its quite unfortunate that such an important case judgment has not been picked up by all the newspapers and made public. What are the newspapers doing, sleeping on their collective asses? Stupid b*s*a*d*. This kind of behavior makes me mad; people are running around spending their time, money, energy, fighting for something that concerns all of us and does anybody care? Does anybody KNOW of this landmark judgment. This is exactly what I was trying to do, and this person has done it, and he actually got a judgment passed for overcharging on MRP in a frigging RESTAURANT, something that I was loath to try.

PLEASE PASS ON THE WORD to all you know. I will try to put a scanned copy of this other judgment as soon as I can for all to see. Guys, please use it everywhere, and tell everyone you know about it.

Ok, back to my case:

In the next hearing on 27th Sep, I submitted the certified copy of this judgment (its called "citation"). And finally, the Judge set 11th Oct for the date for passing the Orders. Ah, finally! I've done all I can, made all the arguments, given umpteen "evidences", newspaper articles, rebuttals, versions, rejoinders and subrejoinders and what not. Spent 6 long months fighting the case. Now lets see what happens. If I lose, it will be a crying shame, and quite crazy really after the other judgment has direct relevance to my case. Lets see, keeping my fingers crossed. Tomorrow is the date.

Continue reading Charging over MRP at airports - 12.

Charging over MRP at airports - 10

Read Charging over MRP at airports - 9 first.

On 21st Sep, I submitted a copy of the newspaper article that had details about a recent judgment delivered by the Karnataka Consumer Court against overcharging. But the judge said that he can't take cognizance of a newspaper article and I should get a copy of the actual case judgment at the next hearing. Next hearing date was set for 27th Sep, 2007.

Ok, this was interesting. How do we now go about finding where the judgment was passed? We had no details about the case, no case number, no mention about which court it was handled in. All we knew were the names of the complainant and the O.P. [Digression 1: The stupid newspaper copy writer of that article should be fired. When one writes a case that has public relevance, it makes eminent sense to provide contact details of the complainant for people to contact him regarding the case. At the very least, all details about the case should have been provided like the case number and the name of the Forum which handled the case. We had such a bloody tough time finding the details ourselves, and if we weren't so persistent we wouldn't have managed. And of course, thanks to quite a bit of luck. Anyway, read on... ;)]

There are five locations of the Courts in Bangalore: Sheshadripuram, Cunningham road and KG Road. After the hearing, we talked to various people in the Sheshadripuram court, but they could not remember such a case being handled in this court. [Digression 2: What kind of strange IT city do we live in? Its quite unbelievable that they don't have an online database system in which they can put in a few key words and locate the case details. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.]

Fine, so then we go bitching to the next court on KG Road. Spoke to a guy we had nodding acquaintance with there, but he also said that such a case was not handled by that court. Whew. Nothing else to do, but to go trudging all the way to Cunningham Rd and hope that it was handled by the Courts there. Sh**. We came out of the Court office and were waiting for the lift when lady luck decided to shine on us again. There was a lawyer who had overheard us inside and he asked us what the problem was. We explained, and he said to go back and ask them for the complaint register. That would have a list of every complaint that has been filed. Look backwards day by day, until we find the name of the complainant. Cool, so there was a way. We went back inside and explained what we needed. Lady luck now positively shone on us now. One of the guys suddenly said, no problem, they'll locate it on the database. [Digression 3: Database? Huh? Whats that? They have a bloody online D A T A B A S E? Whatdfuck, and we go donkeying all over town on a working day when I should be in office. ~#@$%^**()#@#!!! and @$#@^%**&)*()#!!!]

Voila! In a few seconds they looked up the key words and retrieved all the case details. I would have jumped off the 6th floor if it turned out that the case has been handled by the Sheshadripuram Court. Turned out that it was in the Cunningham Court. So off we went there next, armed with all the details. The case had been filed in May (after my case) and was disposed off in Aug (before mine!). Thats why I keep saying that next time I will try to get the Cunningham Forum.

There's an amazingly helpful lady in the Cunningham Court, and she got the case file out and we read the judgment. She needed an affidavit from me explaining why I needed a certified copy of this judgment, and why it had relevance for my case. It would take 2 days normally, but she promised to give it to us in a day.

I got the affidavit made from the same notary in Koramangala BDA complex, and my wife submitted it on Monday, and on Tuesday we had the certified copy with us. More power to us, yeah!

Continue reading Charging over MRP at airports - 11.

Charging over MRP at airports - 9

Read Charging over MRP at airports - 8 first.

Whew! Been a long time without updates. I've been busy updating my life. More on that in a later post. Here's whats been going on with the case:

In the hearing on Aug 24th, the lawyer from the O.P. didn't turn up, only the usual paper delivery guy came. The Judge was not very happy and scolded the fellow. The judge had asked me to get an empty package of the item showing the MRP. I'd throw away the original package after drinking the juice thinking that I would easily get it from outside in any shop. But unfortunately, I didn't manage to get a packet of Bejois juice from any shop. So instead I submitted a newspaper article saying that the 200 ml Bejois juice has been introduced at Rs 10, and another printout of an online shop where the same juice was being sold at Rs 9 instead of the MRP of Rs 10.

I presented my arguments, and another hearing date was set for 14th Sep. I would be traveling again and would not be in India on 14th Sep, so I asked the Judge if my wife could come instead of me. He said, yes, I was not required.

Next hearing on 14th Sep, my wife attended instead of me. For the first time a lawyer from the other side showed up, from Bombay. OK, finally I'm squeezing them. He submitted another of their usual blah-blah documents, this time quoting from various MRP case judgements, and spent more than 1/2 hr reading from this document to the Judge. At the end of it, the Judge asked him if he knew that the Karnataka State Commission took a different view of overcharging on MRP than the Delhi High Court, and the lawyer said "yes".

This was the most interesting piece of news... the first piece of good news I'd heard in this case, considering its been dragging on for more than 6 months. The next hearing was set for 21st Sep.

I returned from the US, and then tried to figure out what the Judge has meant when he said that the Karnataka State Commission took a different view of overcharging on MRP than the Delhi High Court. After searching online for more than 3 days, I struck gold on just one website, the New Indian Express website article "Hotels cannot charge more than MRP", dated 27th August, 2007! This article said that an advocate Shankaranarayana Rao had fought for the cause of the consumer over pricing of bottled water served in a hotel, and won. This was really awesome. Here was a case where the Consumer Court in Bangalore had very recently upheld a complaint against overcharging in a restaurant, even against the stay order passed by the Delhi High Court. This was fantastic news, so in the next hearing on 21st Sep, I submitted a copy of the newspaper article with some more arguments.

Continue reading Charging over MRP at airports - 10.