New Delhi [India], September 20 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed Amazon to deposit the penalty of Rs One lakh imposed by the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) for allegedly selling pressure cookers without the Bureau of India Standard (BIS) mark.
The court kept in abeyance the order passed by CCPA requiring the petitioner to recall certain pressure cookers which were not BIS compliant and reimburse its customers, till the next date of hearing which is listed on November 16.
On September 13, Amazon had approached the Delhi High court challenging the order issued by CCPA imposing a penalty of Rs one lakh.
Justice Yashwant Varma directed Amazon to deposit the penalty of Rs One lakh with the registrar general subject to the outcome of the petition and also issued notice to CCPA.
The Authority had recently issued an order for recalling the sub-standard pressure cookers sold by Amazon and reimbursed the cost to the buyers.
Rajiv Nayar, the senior advocate appearing for Amazon argued that there was no complaint by any consumer and it was a suo moto case taken up by CCPA against the petitioner.
"How could anybody know that there was an inquiry or investigation if nobody had filed a complaint? One of the manufacturers said that they have a BIS mark on their product," Nayar argued.
"The Act in which CCPA imposed penalty does not empower the authority to impose the penalty," Nayar said, arguing the proper procedure under Section 20 of the Consumer Protection Act has not been followed in the matter.
"There is a proper procedure for how you can pass an order under section 20. That is also not followed in this case. But another important aspect is how they arrived at the findings that the pressure cookers are not BIS compliant. If there is no Investigation, no inquiry, how have you deduced from mere listings," Senior advocate Nayar questioned.
The counsel for CCPA submitted that there was an investigation, search and seizure. The investigation report confirmed that the pressure cookers were non-BIS compliant.
He also argued that a manufacturer admitted that its products did not have BIS compliance. He also submitted that after February 1, 2021, it is mandatory for manufacturers to comply with the BIS. At this point, Senior advocate Nayal contended that the petitioner was not informed if the investigation was done which is a violation of natural justice.
In the initial hearing, it was submitted before the bench the notice of CCPA is without jurisdiction and the platform is only an intermediary as understood in the Shreya Singhal case.
He had also submitted that Amazon is like a mall owner and just because some shop is selling spurious apples does not mean that the mall owner can be hauled for it.
"We are offering a platform. As soon as they (CCPA) pointed out, we put them (the company selling pressure cookers) off our marketplace," Nayar had submitted.
However, Justice Varma had questioned Nayar about why doesn't Amazon undertake a preliminary exercise about whether the seller has a BIS certificate and if such an exercise is an impossibility.
He had further asked whether there is any obligation on portals like Amazon to conduct such exercises as well.
Nayar had said that Amazon is an e-commerce platform and it can't cause an investigation.
The CCPA in August issued a notice to Amazon to inform the buyers, recall all 2265 pressure cookers sold through its platform and reimburse the price to the buyers. It was also directed to file a compliance report in 45 days.
The CCPA has also directed Amazon to pay a penalty of Rs one lakh for allowing the sale of pressure cookers in "violation of" the Quality Control Order (QCO) and "violating" the rights of consumers. (ANI)