 INTRODUCTIONS – The case of the complainant is that he ordered food items with OPs on 15.2.2019 and it was Carry Out (Take Away) order. It is averred that when the complainant reached the outlet of Opposite Party No.1 to collect the food items order, they handed over the food without carry bag and when the complainant asked for carry bag, they charged Rs.12/- for it and gave receipt, apart from bill for food items of Rs.261.24/-. It is stated that the charging for a carry bag by the OPs even without mentioning the same at Store, is deficiency in service and unfair trade practice. Hence, this complaint has been filed.

As per Section 14(1)(f) of The Consumer Protect Act, 1986, Consumer Fora under The Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The complainant urged that he should have been provided the carry bag free of cost, whereas the Opposite Parties stated that in their pamphlet/menu card it has been mentioned that the carry bags which will be provided to the customers will be charged extra. OPs also tried to justify the selling of/charging for carry bags stating that due to ban on the use of Plastic bags, they started selling paper bags and claimed that it is also not the legal obligation of the Opposite Parties to provide for carry bags as they are supplying pizzas to customers in card box containers.

Before analysing that charging of extra bucks for carry bag amounts to deficiency in service coupled with unfair trade practice, we shall first concentrate on the very subject of need of charging money for the carry bags.

It is observed that Plastic bags tend to disrupt the environment in a serious way. They get with soil & slowly release toxic chemicals, which eventually break down into the soil, with the unfortunate result being that animal eat them and often choke & die. As it breaks down, plastic particles contaminate soil and waterway and entire food web is affected. The harmful toxic gases mix-up in the air, when plastic is burnt. Other hazardous impacts caused due to the usage of plastic bags also could not be ignored.

In order to safeguard the environment from the hazardous impacts of Plastic Carry Bags, the Union Ministry of Environment & Forest, notified the Plastic Waste (Management & Handling) Rules, in the year 2011 and vide that notification the govt. also wanted the proceeds from the sale of carry bags to finance plastic waste management efforts.

It is also presumed that the expenses incurred by the retailors on the alleged purchase of carry bags had already been included in their profit margins.

The Opposite Parties have also not come forward with any of the record showing that the money collected on account of sale of carry bags is deposited with any of the authority(ies) or any steps taken for the management of Plastic Waste for which the retailors were earlier permitted to charge for the plastic carry bags.

From the above discussion, facts & circumstances of the case, the complaint stands allowed against Opposite Parties and exercising the powers conferred under the above referred provisions of Section 14(1)(f) of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, (as amended upto date), we hereby direct the Opposite Parties as under:-
(a) To stop the unfair trade practice of charging extra money for the carry bags from consumer(s); (b) To refund to the Complainant the amount of Rs.12/- wrongly charged for the paper carry bag;
(C) To pay Rs.1500/- to the complainant towards compensation for harassment and mental agony as well as litigation expenses.

They are imposed a penalty of Rs. Five Lacs upon the Opposite Parties in the interest of justice, which they shall deposit in the Poor Patient Welfare Fund (PPWF) of PGIMER (Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research), Chandigarh and submit the receipt thereof with this Office. 27] This order shall be complied with by the OPs within the period of 30 days, failing which they shall also be liable to pay additional compensatory cost of Rs. 5,000/- to the complainant, apart from complying with the above relief. The complainant shall ensure the complete compliance of this order having remedy under relevant provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.