NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
REVISION PETITION NO. 1791 OF 2007
Sri Surendra Nath Patra ….. Petitioner
S/o late Radhanath Patra
1. Executive Engineer Electrical ….. Respondents
NESCO, Jaleswar Elect. Division
At /Po. Jaleswar, Dist. Balasore
State – Orissa
2. Sub. Divisional Officer, Elect.
At/po. Bhograi, Dist. Balasore
State – Orissa
3. Junior Engineer
At/po. Kamarda, Dist. Balasore
State – Orissa
4. District Agriculture Officer
HON’BLE MR. ANUPAM DASGUPTA, PRESIDING MEMBER
HON’BLE MR.SURESH CHANDRA, MEMBER
For the Petitioner : Mr. B.S. Sharma, Amicus Curiae
For the Respondents : Ex Parte
Pronounced on : 16th March, 2012
PER SURESH CHANDRA, MEMBER
This revision petition challenges the order dated 30.4.2007 passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Orissa, Cuttack (‘State Commission’ for short).
2. As per admitted position of facts, the complainant who is petitioner herein, is a poor cultivator and had dug up a deep well on his plot. On his application to Respondent No.4 (who was OP No.1 before the District Forum) for a deep well under KSK Scheme, Respondent No.4 allowed the same and sanctioned a deep well on complainant’s property. Accordingly, the petitioner dug up a deep well and also applied to Respondent No.1 (OP No.2) for supply of electricity to the 5 HP Mono block motor for the purpose of irrigation. On recommendation of Respondent No.3 (OP No.4), the permission for installation of the electric motor and supply of electricity was granted and accordingly an agreement between the petitioner and Respondent No.1 was entered into on 29.4.1999 for which the petitioner was also required to deposit necessary charges amounting to Rs.1070 on 22.4.1999. Respondent No.3, however, did not release necessary material for installation of the L.I. point because of which necessary electric supply could not be provided to the petitioner thereby leading to alleged loss of crops and incurring of expenditure bythe petitioner. The petitioner, therefore, filed a consumer complaint before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Balasore claiming an amount of Rs.20,000/- spent by him in the installation of the electric motor and compensation of Rs.20,000/- besides cost of litigation of Rs.10,000/-. The complaint
was resisted by Respondents No. 1 to 3. It was submitted by them that in spite of their best efforts they could not provide the electricity because of lack of required funds for disbursing the subsidy under the KSK and other schemes since their request for provision of funds had been disallowed by the REC/Government. In support of their submission, Respondent No.1 produced a letter dated 17.12.1999 received from Superintending Engineer Electrical Area, Balasore addressed to all the Executive Engineers which confirmed the submission made by the Respondent/OP before the District Forum. In view of these instructions received from the higher authority, it was pleaded by the respondents/OPs that there was no deficiency on their part in the matter and hence the complaint be dismissed.
3. On appraisal of the evidence adduced by the parties and the documents placed on record before it and hearing the parties, the District Forum allowed the complaint in terms of the following observations made and directions given in its order dated 31.7.2002:-
“The O.Ps. after agreement and security deposit remained silent without notice or information to the complt. This style of functioning and system is an abuse which breads other vices. So the O.Ps must come forward to render proper service to their customers so that people will repose confidence upon them. The work of O.Ps will be balanced with interest of the society. The grievance of the complainant should not be ignored by the O.Ps and the O.Ps should provide fuel and fan to the complainant so that the complt. will not feel that O.Ps have done any dereliction of duty.
The O.P. fails to render service to the complt. because complainant after agreement and security deposit unable to get benefit of irrigation to his agricultural land and thereby he sustained an irreparable loss and O.Ps are responsible for that loss.
The complt. after taking much strain and pain filed this position before this Forum to get justice. A party does not leave the portal of the Forum with the feeling that he did not receive justice in hand of the dispenser of justice.
To finding no other way and alternative I direct the O.P. No.2 to supply the electricity to the dug well of complt.within one month from the date of judgment and O.P. No.2 to 4 are directed to pay compensation (including agricultural loss and mental shock) a sum of Rs. 20,000/- to the Complt. within 10 days and I fix no responsible to O.P.No.1 because he discharges his duty properly.”
4. Respondents No. 1 to 3 herein went in appeal against the aforesaid order of the District Forum which was allowed by the State Commission vide its impugned order which is now under challenge through the present revision petition. While allowing the appeal of the respondents and setting aside the order of the District Forum, the State Commission has recorded the following reasons in support of the impugned order:-
“6. It is clear that the subsidized scheme under the SPA has been ceased by the R.E.C. The respondent no.1 had applied for supply of energy to his L.I. point under this scheme. As this scheme is closed before energy was supplied to the L.I. point, in no manner appellants could have provided energy to the L.I. point of the respondent no.1. Had the scheme was in operation, the appellants could have provided such energy. In this end of the view the appellants cannot be held responsible for causing deficiency in service to respondent no.1. This view has also been taken by this commission in the above mentioned decision. The District Forum has lost sight of this and has given a direction to the appellant no.1 in respect to supply of energy to the L.I. point within a month which is not possible at all. Therefore, District Forum’s direction to the appellants to pay compensation of rupees 20,000/- to the complainant does not arise. For the reasons given above, the District Forum’s orders cannot be sustained.
7. Therefore, the appeal is allowed on contest without cost in the circumstance of the case. The impugned orders dated 31.07.2002 of the District Forum is hereby set- aside.”
5. After hearing learned Amicus Curiae, Mr. B.S. Sharma, Advocate on behalf of the petitioner, vide our order dated 24.5.2007 we had directed issuance of a limited notice for payment of compensation for causing delay in installing the electric connection on the part of the officials of the respondent Co. and the matter was admitted for final hearing.
6. Since nobody appeared on behalf of the respondents, they were directed to be proceeded ex parte and we have considered the revision petition in the light of the documents placed by the parties on record and the submissions made by learned Amicus. Learned Amicus pointed out that the District Forum allowed the complaint of the petitioner based on the undisputed facts of this case. Learned counsel for Respondents No. 1 to 3 had earlier requested for and was granted time by this Commission to file a copy of the scheme and other relevant documents in support of his contentions on the limited issue of payment of compensation for causing delay in installing the electric connection on the part of the officials of the respondent Co. However, learned Amicus submitted that since neither any documents have been filed nor there has been any appearance on behalf of the respondent Co., this Commission may uphold the order of the District Forum regarding the payment of compensation of Rs.20,000/- to the petitioner and set aside the impugned order of the State Commission which is erroneous inasmuch as it ignored the admitted position in respect of undue delay on the part of the company’s officials in the matter because of which the petitioner did suffer financially for no fault of his. We accept the contention raised by learned amicus since nothing has been produced by respondent Co. to disprove or convincingly justify the undue delay on their part in taking action in pursuance of the agreement entered into by it with the petitioner which was well before the issuance of the letter on 17.12.1999 by the REC/Government to deny funds for the scheme. To this extent, there was deficiency on the part of the Respondents No.1 to 3.
7. In the circumstances, we set aside the impugned order and partly allow the revision petition and confirm the order of the District Forum to the extent of payment of Rs.20,000/- as compensation in the matter to the petitioner. This amount of compensation shall be paid by Respondents No. 1 to 3 within a period of one month from the date of receipt of this order, failing which they shall be liable to pay interest @ 9% p.a. till the date of actual release of the amount.
8. While on the subject, we record our appreciation for the assistance rendered by learned Amicus, Mr. B.S. Sharma, Advocate in the matter.