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Eatery can ‘serve’ beverage at its chosen rate in premises: Bombay High Court

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In a significant order that can set the tone for basic amenities at high-end eateries, the Bombay High Court quashed and set aside a notice issued by the Legal Meteorology Department to a famous South Mumbai restaurant ‘Pizza by the Bay’ for charging Rs 244 for a bottle of Fanta — the print price for which is a mere Rs 38.

A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Anuja Prabhudessai set aside the notice in August last year, but the reasoned order was made available late last year. In its order, the bench has said that “the mere fact that the beverage was brought at the table in a sealed condition would not convert ‘service’ into ‘sale’ and further does not take the transaction outside the purview of the law laid down by the apex court.”

The restaurant had challenged the July 3, 2017 notice issued to it wherein it was alleged that at the time of surprise inspection, it had sold a bottle of Fanta and packages of soft drinks were being sold at its premises. Senior Advocate Virag Tulzapurkar said, “The restaurant does not sell bottled soft drinks, but only served it to the guests.”

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