A Bengaluru consumer court has ordered multiplexes, restaurants and eateries in the city to serve free and clean water to visitors throughout the year, Bangalore Mirror reported on Tuesday. The order was based on a petition filed by 47-year-old Sudha Katwa who won a legal battle against fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The petitioner said staffers at Kentucky Fried Chicken’s Yeshwanthpur outlet, on May 29, 2016, denied her request for free and clean drinking water, forcing her to buy a bottle of mineral bottle instead. She had first lodged a complaint with the Chief Health Officer, highlighting the problem where customers are forced to buy packaged drinking water at such establishments.
Since the official, attached to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, failed to intervene and ensure that city restaurants provide free and clean drinking water, she moved the Bangalore Urban District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum on October 1, 2016, the English daily reported. The complainant sought compensation of Re 1 from KFC and the provision she was fighting for.
KFC’s outlet, however, said it offers free drinking water to its customers and that it operates on a self-service model for items like water, ketchup, etc. KFC was asked to pay the petitioner a compensation of Re 1 and litigation cost of Rs 5,000. A directive was also issued to the BBMP.
“We direct OP-2 ([BBMP] to ensure that all the multiplexes, restaurants and eateries houses in limits of BBMP provide free clean drinking water to all the consumers/customers throughout the year. OP-2 shall report the compliance to the forum within 60 days,” the consumer forum ruled.
On March 7, the Centre had directed all establishments to comply with the law and sell packaged mineral water at the maximum retail price.