Taking cue from the consumer awareness campaigns of the Govt and the Consumer related NGOs particularly Jago Gharak Jago, a young engineering student Sourabh Anand has filed a consumer complaint against Pepsi Co India Limited and Jai Beverages Limited and has sought compensation to the tune of Rs 5 Lakhs.
The complaint was filed by Sourabh Anand son of Naresh Anand resident of New Plots Jammu under the J&K Consumer Protection Act before the Divisional (Consumer) Forum Jammu through Mr A K Sawhney Advocate with Mr Aseem Sawhney Advocate and Mr Pardeep Khajuria Advocates.
Worthwhile to mention that Sourabh a student of MIET College Jammu purchased some soft drink bottles from his college canteen and found that three bottles out of 14 bottles, he purchased were adulterated.
The bottle of Pepsi contained an insect, a bottle of Mountain Dew contained a metal earring which had corroded inside the bottle and Lehar 7UP contained a chewing gum wrapper.
In the complaint filed against Pepsi Co India and Jai Beverages Limited, Mr A K Sawhney and Mr Aseem Sawhney Advocates the complainant has sought compensation to the complainant to the tune of Rs 5 lakhs for the mental torture, humiliation, trauma, insult and attempted loss of life, health and injury due to negligence of the manufacturers and sought that the manufacturer Pepsi Co and Jai Beverages be directed to pay costs to the complainant and further a direction not to offer adulterated and hazardous cold drinks for sale.
It was alleged in the complaint by Mr A K Sawhney Advocate and associate lawyers that on 1.6.2013, Saturday, the complainant went to his college canteen being run in the MIET College campus and purchased beverages 14 in number which included six Lehar Mountain Dew, four Lehar 7Ups and 4 Pepsi.
The complainant made a payment of Rs 194/- for these cold drinks bottles.The complainant- Sourabh Anand was offering his friends with the cold drinks/ beverages which included six Mountain Dews, four 7Ups and 4 Pepsi being a brand of respondent no. 1 when the complainant was shell shocked to notice that three bottles which include one Pepsi, one 7Up and one Mountain Dew were containing foreign matter in the sealed bottles. The said beverages’ bottles which were company sealed were containing adulterated matter which was visible with a naked eye and the cold drinks, sold to the complainant were adulterated and hazardous for health.
It was submitted before the Consumer Court that the sealed 300 ML bottle of Pepsi has a manufacturing date of 30.4.2013 and having batch no. P86 contains foreign matter, which seems to be a decomposed insect or a reptile or some creature with leaves or fish but definitely can be concluded to be adulterated under the definition of adulteration as contained in the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.
That the sealed 300ml bottle of Mountain Dew has a manufacturing date of 14.5.2013 and having batch no. MD161 contains foreign matter, which seems to an ornament like an ear ring made of some metal but definitely can be concluded to be adulterated under the definition of adulteration as contained in the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.That if the metal has corroded, the said cold drink would turn into poison and could take the life of the complaint or any one who would have consumed the said drink. The corroded particles are visible in the sealed bottle, it was alleged in the complaint.
The sealed 300ml bottle of Lehar 7UP has a manufacturing date of 1.4.2013 and having batch no. 7UP 08 contains foreign matter, which a floating chewing gum wrapper made up of non biodegradable polypropylene/ plastic material but definitely can be concluded to be adulterated under the definition of adulteration as contained in the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 the complaint further alleged in the complaint.
All the three bottles have the proper branding on its crown and the name and address of respondents no. 2 and 3 figure. As per the bottles the same have been manufactured by M/s Jai Beverages Limited having its manufacturing unit at SIDCO Industrial Complex, Phase I, Bari Brahmna Jammu and Regd office at 52, Janpath New Delhi.
Mr Aseem Sawhney Advocate for the complainant also alleged that a reputed multinational company like Pepsi Co- respondent no 1 who owns these brands and respondents no. 2 and 3 – Jai Beverages Private Ltd which is manufacturing these beverages are supplying adulterated food material/ beverages to the consumers. In their accelerated pace to reap profits in the summer season they have become so negligent, careless and callous that they have totally forgotten about the health of the consumers. The respondents have displayed sheer negligence towards the health of the consumers and if these adulterated cold drinks had been consumed, the consumers would have suffered worst of health problems even could have caused death of a person.
It was by sheer luck that the complainant- Sourabh Anand noticed these adulterated materials in the bottles in his purchased lot of bottles else there are several hotels, restaurants, dhabas, eateries, where these beverages are served in glasses and only God knows what poison is served to consumers on the name of these high branded beverages. Even the illiterate people who drink these beverages without even looking inside the bottles, too are being cheated by these respondents for making fast buck at the cost of the health of the consumers.
The complainant has been very hurt and his faith, taste, choice has been shattered to learn that these companies which promote their brands through advertisements on TV, newspapers, magazines, through cricketers, film stars are actually so negligent in their manufacturing that they are ready to sell what ever dirt, filth and garbage they can offer especially in the summer season when their sales are at peak.
In the complaint it was alleged that Complainant being a teenager/ youth; till date was an avid consumer of these high brands of cold drinks and there was craze in him for these brands, but after realizing that the manufacturers are so negligent in even manufacturing these bottles and beverages in the shape of cans, plastic bottles the complainant felt like puking and the filth in the bottles affected the heath of the complainant as to what all he was drink till date. On one side to maintain his health, the compliant like other youths visits gym and does exercises on the other side the youth is being administered such adulterated and filthy material on the name youth icons and using the advertisements exploiting the youth material. The complainant feels cheated on the name of the claims and false advertisements of the respondents, while reality is far away than truth.
The sale of the adulterated and hazardous cold drinks to the complainant has caused mental torture, agony, pain and has shattered the faith of the complainant. Besides the complainant also suffered a health phobia as to what all he drank till date was “sweet poison due to sheer negligence of the respondents”. Same are hazardous for the health and if consumed the complainant or his friends to whom he was offering the drinks would have suffered a fatal loss to his/ their health.
The beverages are hazardous for the health of the complainant and are in contravention to the FSS Act 2006 which prescribes the standards of cold drinks/ beverages. The cold drinks bottles besides being defective are also adulterated. Further it was alleged that the cold drink manufacturers have violated good manufacturing practices, which ought to be adopted by the manufacturing companies besides have adopted unfair trade practices, manufactured cold drinks’ bottles which are defective, and manufactured negligently.
Not only manufacturing is negligent but the entire chain of supply, inspections, transport, stocking and sale is negligent. Thus cheating the consumer and keeping his life at peril by issuing misleading advertisements and exploiting the sentiments of the youth.
Mr Sawhney submitted in the complaint that complainant has suffered through nausea, shock, mental torture, trauma, health phobia and tension. The complainant felt disparaged, humiliated and insulted in front of the friends to whom he was offering these beverages, therefore the complainant may be awarded compensation to the tune of Rs 5 lakhs so that the award may act as a deterrent for the respondents and they do not dare to play with the human health and lives in future through their callousness.