NCDRC slaps Rs 50,000 fine on Coca Cola, complainant donates it to consumer welfare fund.

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The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) while dismissing an appeal filed by a beverage giant ‪Coca Cola company against an order of MP Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions ordered it to pay a compensation of Rs 50,540/- to Mosoof Ahmed Hanfi, a resident of Katni district, who found dead insects, fungus and dirt inside bottles of ‪Maaza that he purchased from a local shop in ‪Katni (MP). Earlier, the complainant, a practising advocate purchased two bottles of Mazaa cold drink on May 25, 2007. He consumed one bottle at night and felt uneasiness in stomach after 10-15 minutes, leading to vomiting and diarrhoea and fainting sensation. When he was taken to the doctor, few pathological tests were conducted and the report thereof revealed that it was a case of food poisoning. He showed the second bottle of the cold drink to the doctor who noticed fungus and insects in it. While alleging that due to his sickness he could not appear in a competitive exam and he suffered professional loss, mental agony and financial loss. Subsequently, he filed a complaint before the District Forum, Katni and the District forum allowed the complaint and an appeal in the matter filed by Coca Cola before State Commission, Madhya Pradesh was also dismissed.

The Managing Director of a Coca Cola’s manufacturing unit contended before the NCDRC that Coca Cola Plant does not manufacture Mazaa Cold Drink and it is manufactured by Superior Drinks Pvt. Ltd, hence, he is not related to the case. It was further contended by him that there was no cogent evidence that whether the bottles were sealed or not. At this point, complainant brought the attention of the Commission to the order of District Forum, which had observed that second bottle was sealed one and sent for laboratory test. As per laboratory test report, there was fungus in the bottle. The complainant also produced the medical prescriptions and certificate issued by the doctor as well as the receipt of purchase of Mazaa. After thoughtful consideration, NCDRC observed that, “the complainant proved his case that the bottles, which, he had purchased, contaminated with fungus and other inorganic material. The medical certificate clearly proves that the patient was admitted, took the treatment for the same.” It was also observed by the Commission that as the complainant wished that the same compensation be deposited in the Consumer Legal Aid Account of National Commission for the welfare of consumer awareness, it is a good gesture of the prudent consumer. [Vikas Mittal v. Mosoof Ahmed, 2016 SCC OnLine NCDRC 278, decided on May 4, 2016]

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