New Delhi: Service charge in hotels and restaurants are "totally voluntary", Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Friday.
"Government has approved guidelines on service charge. (It) is totally voluntary and not mandatory now. Guidelines are being sent to states for necessary action," he tweeted.
Paswan said hotels and restaurants must "not decide how much service charge is to be paid by the customer and it should be left to the discretion of the customer".
According to an official from the Consumer Affairs Ministry, hotels cannot levy service charge in the bill and it will be the customer's discretion weather to pay or not.
It is only after the customers' consent that a hotel can add the charge in the bill.
If hotels defy the government decision, customers can approach consumer courts, the official added.