Hyderabad restaurant asked to pay Rs 30,000 for serving cockroach in chicken handi biryani
M Arun Raj, 31, of Balanagar, Hyderabad, ordered 'Chicken Handi Biryani' from Captain Cook restaurant in Ameerpet on September 2, 2021
HYDERABAD: The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has ordered Captain Cook restaurant to pay Rs 30,000 in compensation and legal costs for serving cockroaches in chicken handi biryani.
M Arun Raj, 31, of Balanagar, Hyderabad, ordered 'Chicken Handi Biryani' from Captain Cook restaurant in Ameerpet about 3:21 p.m. on September 2, 2021.
Arun Raj, who was quite hungry that day, opened the parcel he had ordered from the restaurant and began eating with his colleagues at work. To his shock, he noticed a Cockroach crawling out of the biryani, causing him to puke and lose his appetite for several days.
He quickly shot a video of the incident and contacted the restaurant authorities. He received an apology from the restaurant management, who said that they had recently conducted pest control, as a result of which the cockroaches were possibly concealed in his biryani parcel.
The restaurant manager even asked Arun whether he wanted to swap another item for the biryani. However, a frustrated Arun declined the replacement and declared that he would never order from the restaurant again. The Captain Cook restaurant, however, refunded Arun Rs.240 when he refused to revise his order.
Arun issued a legal notice to Captain Cook restaurant via registered mail on September 9, 2021, at the address listed on the invoice or bill, and it was returned undelivered. The same legal notice was sent to the restaurant again via WhatsApp at mobile number 8686524200, but reportedly there was no response from them.
Arun checked the restaurant's online feedback after not receiving a response from it and, to his surprise, found that there had been a lot of negative reviews in the previous few months as well as complaints about bugs and insects in various of the restaurant's food items.
The restaurant responded by denying Arun's claims, saying they were unjustified allegations made on frivolous and false basis. They even asserted that the Chicken Handi Biryani that was given to Arun was hot and fresh, negating the possibility of any insects being alive in hot food.
The court noted that the fact that a small cockroach crawled out of the food while Arun was eating established that the restaurant acted negligently in providing hygienic food to the customer. The court also noted that it was the basic right of every consumer to receive a quality product or service for the charges he paid, that the restaurant failed to maintain basic safety precautions in providing hygienic food to its customers. The court said that the insect would have taken shelter in the cover in which the food was packed when pest control treatment was administered on the restaurant premises.
Taking all of the facts into account, the court determined that any restaurant, no matter how big or small it is, and regardless of the reviews it has on social media, and even if it had every statutory licence in place, it's their basic responsibility to maintain cleanliness and a hygienic atmosphere in the kitchen to avoid the occurrence of such incidents that are harmful to the health of their customers.
The court further ruled that simply refunding the transaction amounts to the consumers whenever such an incident occurred shouldn't relieve the parties in dispute of their responsibility to be responsible and cautious.
Hence, the court gave judgement in favour of Arun and ordered the restaurant to pay the complainant Rs. 20,000 for causing mental anguish and pain damages, as well as Rs. 10,000 in court fees, within 45 days of the receipt of this order.