Consumer Forum Fines Coca-Cola for Contaminated Drinks
September 29, 2005

State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has stayed the order of Nagpur District Consumer Forum imposing a fine of Rs 1 lakh on soft drink giant Coca-Cola holding it guilty of negligence on account of impurities found inside its bottles.

The soft-drink company had challenged the ruling before the Commission disputing the advanced by the Forum.

The Commission headed by Justices (retd) B B Vagyani and A M Karandkhedkar, while issuing notices to the respondent-consumer, stayed the order of the Forum. The Commission also directed Coca-cola to deposit a sum of Rs 17,000 with the Forum, which had held the company guilty of deficiency in service.

Consumer Chandrashekhar Paradkar, a city-based consumer, had found foreign objects inside Coca-Cola bottles and tests conducted by Government laboratories found drinks inside unfit for consumption.

Paradkar had approached the consumer forum charging Coca-Cola, M/s Superior Drinks Private Ltd, and Balaji Sales of manufacturing, marketing and selling adulterated food as defined under Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.

He urged the Forum to impose exemplary cost on them for bringing such harmful product into the market and demanded a compensation of Rs 4 lakh.

Relying upon the historic Donald Vs Stevenson case where heavy compensation was awarded to the complaining consumer who found rusted nails inside a ginger beer bottle, the Forum held Coca-Cola, bottlers M/s Superior Drinks Private Ltd and distributors Balaji Sales, guilty and slapped a collective fine of Rs 1 lakh.

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