Court: Restaurant Can Be Sued for Serving Meat to Devout Hindus

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What happens when you accidentally dish up meat for vegetarians? For one restaurant, it may be the most expensive meal it ever served.

A group of devout Hindus have won the right to sue an Indian eatery in New Jersey for serving them meat-filled samosas, a state appellate court ruled Monday. The group, whose religion prohibits meat-eating, are demanding money to fly to India and wash away their carnivorous sins in the Ganges River.

The diners say the samosas offended their spiritual sensibilities, and their pocketbooks, too: the cleansing ceremony can last thirty days and cost thousands.

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“If you follow the scriptures, it’s definitely a huge cost,” Mehul Thakkar, a spokesman for the Yogi Divine Society in Lake Hiawatha, a nonprofit socio-religious organization that adheres to the principles of the Swaminarayan faith of Hinduism, told the Newark Star-Ledger. “If they are very strict about it, there definitely is a fee involved.”

The original incident unfolded on India Day in August 2009, when the Hindus dropped by the Moghul Express in Edison. They ordered samosas that the waiter said were vegetarian, took a big bite, and realized that it definitely wasn’t potato inside. The courts threw out the diners’ allegations of negligence, emotional distress, consumer fraud and products liability, but upheld their right to sue for breach of express warranty.

Some members of the Edison community say the suit is silly. “This is a hypocrisy of religion,” said Pradip Kothari, president of the local Indo-American Cultural Society. “They can go to a temple here and ask God for forgiveness. God is not going to punish you for doing something unknowingly.” (via Star-Ledger)

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