Delhi HC Dismisses Rs 20 Lakh Compensation Plea Of Woman Who Found Rat In Buttermilk
Last year, a Delhi woman opened a tetra pack of buttermilk purchased from a dairy brand and consumed it, only to find a dead rat inside her drink. The outraged woman moved court and demanded compensation for Rs 20 lakh from the dairy company as well as FSSAI. However, on Thursday, the Delhi High Court put a dampener on the woman’s petition by refusing to entertain it.
Responding to the consumer’s petition against spurious buttermilk, Justice Rekha Palli said that the High Court was not the appropriate forum for this complaint. The judge instead directed the woman to appeal to the consumer court and directed the food safety department to respond to the complaint made by the petitioner-consumer in a time-bound manner.
There was nothing prima facie to show deficiency in services, the Judge said, adding that she was not inclined to adjudicate upon a disputed fact in a writ petition.
“Go to consumer court for compensation. There is a specialised court for this. You are not able to show me anything prima facie. I can’t decide anything disputed,” the court said.
“In my view, there is nothing prima facie to show that the product was in fact defective. This aspect cannot be decided in a writ petition which is rejected,” Justice Palli ordered.
“Dismissal of this petition will not bar the petition from approaching the consumer court,” the court clarified.
Counsel for the petitioner, lawyer Shadab Khan, contended that the case concerned the violation of his client’s fundamental rights, particularly Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
The counsel claimed that ever since the petitioner, a vegetarian, consumed the buttermilk last year, she has been suffering from several physical and mental ailments.
“The petitioner is facing physical (stomach disease/ complication dyspepsia/ acid reflux daily) and metal affect (depression) continuously,” the petition reads.
The court was informed that complaints were made to the dairy company, Food Safety & Standard Authority Of lndia (FSSAI) and Food Safety and Drug Administration, Government of Uttar Pradesh where the petitioner resided.
The lawyer alleged “gross inaction” by the FSSAI and other authorities, saying that they are was duty-bound to collect sample of the product and take immediate action.
In the petition, the petitioner also claimed Rs 20 lakh as compensation from the dairy company and FSSAI.
Counsel for FSSAI said that the consumer court was the appropriate forum for the present case.
(With inputs from PTI)