DCDRC finds Nik Bakers liable for deficient services for providing “unhealthy dye cake”; directs them to pay compensation of Rs 40,000

district consumer disputes redressal commission

District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (DCDRC), Panchkula: While considering the instant complaint wherein the complainant had ordered a birthday cake for her son and after consuming the cake, he fell severely ill; the Bench of Satpal, (President) and Dr. Sushma Garg and Dr. Barhm Parkash Yadav, (Members) concluded that the opposite parties namely Nik Bakers and M.G. Bakers were deficient while rendering services to the complainant, for which they are liable, jointly and severally, to compensate the complainant. The Commission thus directed compensation of Rs 30,000/- on account of the bakers’ indulgence into unfair trade practice and additional Rs 10,000/- on account of mental agony, harassment and litigation charges faced by the complainant.

The complainant had ordered a birthday cake on 29-06-2019 for her son’s birthday which was to be celebrated on 03-07-2019. While cutting the cake on the birthday and feeding it to her child, the complainant and other guests noticed that the cake contained colour which had left red marks on their hands.

The complainant also discovered that the cake was inedible and unhygienic and hence, the cake was not eaten by all the guests including the complainant. It was stated that on the same night, the complainant’s son started vomiting and crying with pain and suffered loose motions. The next morning, they went to the doctor who confirmed that the illness occurred due to unhygienic food.

The complainant averred that an email was sent to the bakers on 03-07-2019 (day of the party) itself informing them about the unhealthy dye cake. Subsequent emails were sent on 05-07-2019 followed by email dated 09-07-2019 and 20-07-2019 about the sub-standard quality of the cake, but no heed was paid by bakers. Due to the act and conduct of bakers, the complainant suffered a great deal of financial loss and mental agony, harassment and hence, the instant complaint came into being.

The bakers on the other hand contended that no laboratory report in support of the contentions of the complainant have been placed on record. It was further submitted that Nik Bakers uses premium quality ingredients, raw material, edible food colours and other ancillary material, which are food grade certified and has been following best food industry practices, in which every food recipe goes through multiple quality processes, controls and checks by an exclusively and the highly qualified food technologist, with the aid of well-equipped machinery, to ensure safe and best quality healthy food. Thus, the bakers argued that there had been no deficiency in service on their part.

Perusing the facts and arguments presented in the case, the Commission noted that since the complainant had levelled the very serious allegations vis-a-vis the quality of the cake, and that too on the same day when the cake was consumed; hence, a heavy duty was cast upon the bakers, who claimed themselves to be equipped with appropriate laboratory facility, manned by qualified and experienced food technologist, to get the sample of the cake tested from their laboratory. The Commission noted that it is not the case of the bakers that sample of the same batch was not available with them.

The Commission pointed out that pertinently the bakers, instead of getting the samples tested in their laboratory, opted to deny the allegations levelled by the complainant vide email dated 05-07-2019. “In fact, the OPs had slept over the matter and failed to get the samples tested from their laboratory, which are, allegedly manned by qualified Food Scientist”.

The Commission pointed out that since the complainant had booked the cake in advance and her son fell ill after consuming the same, she had legitimate and valid expectation to have a clear and true report from bakers on the alleged sub-standard and inferior quality of cake. However, they preferred not to send the sample of the same to any of its authorized laboratory and adduced on record the purchase bill pertaining to raw materials i.e., colours/ dye etc., but the same are of no help to them as the said bills are of later date i.e. 21-11-2019, 08-02-2020 and 11-02-2020 whereas the cake was purchased on 03.07.2019.

The Commission further noted that the complainant was a regular customer of the bakers. The Commission also stated that no other guests fell ill after the party as they did not consume the cake after noticing the colours on their hands.

With the afore-stated analysis, the Commission found Nik Bakers and MG Bakers liable for deficient services; and besides the abovementioned monetary compensation, the Commission also directed the bakers to refund a sum of Rs. 3,186/- i.e. the cost of the cake to the complainant along with interest @ 9% per annum (simple interest) w.e.f. the date of filing of the present complaint till its actual realization and deposit Rs. 20,000 (out of Rs 30,000 penalty imposed on the bakers) in Poor Patient Welfare Fund

[Anju Ahlawat v. Nik Bakers, CC No. 618 of 2019, decided on 21-09-2023]

*Order by Satpal, President

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For complainant- Ravinder Singh, Authorised Representative

For Opposite Parties- Jatin Sehrawat, Advocate

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