Saravana Bhavan to pay Rs 1.1 L for 'food poisoning'

A consumer disputes forum has directed popular south Indian chain of restaurants Saravana Bhavan to pay Rs 1.10 lakh to a Supreme Court advocate as compensation for alleged deficiency in serving food to him. (AFP Photo)

Leading restaurant chain Hotel Saravana Bhavan has been directed by a consumer disputes forum to pay Rs 1.10 lakh as compensation to a Supreme Court lawyer for “deficiency in service” that led to his hospitalisation after he consumed food from one of its branches in 2014.

S K Saamy, the apex court lawyer, will receive Rs 1 lakh as compensation for mental agony and other hardships due to “food poisoning” after his visit to the Anna Salai branch of the restaurant chain and Rs 10,000 as cost of litigation.

Hotel Saravana Bhavan is one of the popular restaurant chains that made eating out affordable for the middle class not just because of the tasty food but its stress on cleanliness. This is probably the first time that Saravana Bhavan has been asked to pay compensation for “deficiency in service” – exemplary service and cleanliness were the hallmark of the restaurant chain since it was founded in 1981 by P Rajagopalan, who passed away last month.

Tamil Nadu State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission gave the order on a complaint filed by Saamy who sought a total compensation of Rs 90 lakh "for ill-health, severe mental agony and other hardships" faced from "food poisoning" after he consumed food from the restaurant in October 2014.

The lawyer had contented before the forum that he was provided with an alternative meal after he brought to the notice of the manager about the presence of strands of hair in the food served to him.

However, few hours after taking the food, the complainant said that he started feeling severe stomach pain, vomiting and nausea, besides developing fever and rashes on his body. He also contended that he suffered from food poisoning and was even admitted to the ICU of a government hospital here.

The lawyer had charged Saravana Bhavan with being "guilty of having served defective food," and prayed for a compensation of Rs 60 lakh for "deficiency in service" and another Rs 30 lakh for ill-health and mental agony.

"In the result, the complainant is allowed in part and the opposite party (Saravana Bhavan) is directed to pay Rs one lakh to the complainant as compensation for mental agony and other hardships and also Rs 10,000 as cost of litigation," the forum said in its order.

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