NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
REVISION PETITION No. 1808 of 2011
Suresh Kumar, son of Sadhu Ram
Resident of Village Dumara
Tehsil and District Kaithal, Haryana Petitioner
1. Indian Farmers Fertilizers Co-op. Ltd.
Regional Officer, Karnal
Through its Regional Manager
2. India Farmers Co-op. Ltd.
Farmers Service Centre Respondents
Through its Salesman
HON’BLE MR. ANUPAM DASGUPTA PRESIDING MEMBER
HON’BLE MR. SURESH CHANDRA MEMBER
For the Petitioner Mr. Balraj Malik and
Mr. Dharam Pal, Advocates
Pronounced on 21st March 2012
This revision petition is directed against the order dated 24 01.2011 of the Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Panchkula (in short, “the State Commission”) in First Appeal no. 732 of 2007. By this order, the State Commission modified the order dated 26.02.2007 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Kaithal (in short, “the District Forum’) which had allowed the complaint of the petitioner. The State Commission, while modifying the order of the District Forum, made the following observations:
“From the observations made by the District Forum, as mentioned above, we are of the view that the complainant has successfully proved its case and deficiency of service on the part of the opposite parties stands proved on record. So far as the question of awarding of compensation to the complainant, we are of the view that the complainant has not suffered 100% loss of the crop. Admitted on 22.05.2005 the complainant had sown the paddy seed in one kanal of land for getting nursery/paneeri for 15 acres of land. It is not disputed that the complainant had noticed the low germination of the nursery/paneeri within 8 days from sowing the paddy seed and, therefore, he had sufficient time to grow new paneeri for plantation and thus, it cannot be presumed that the complainant has suffered 100% loss with respect to the paddy crop. More so no khasra or girdawari with respect to the ownership of the land has been placed on the record to substantiate the claim of the complainant.
Thus, under the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the view that the District Forum was justified in allowing the complaint of the complainant. However, awarding of compensation of Rs.75,000/- for loss of crop to the complainant is on the higher side for the reason that the seed was used in one Kanal of land for the purpose of growing paneer/nursery and its growth was judged after 8 days of preparing the paddy plants. Moreover, the complainant has (sic had) sufficient time to grow fresh plantation. In these circumstances, we reduce the compensation of Rs.75,000/- to Rs.20,000/-.
The remaining relief of Rs.25,000/- awarded to the complainant as compensation for harassment and mental agony, including the costs is also reduced from Rs.25,000/- to Rs.5,000/-.
With the above modification in the impugned order, this appeal stands disposed of.”
2. The facts of the case are that the petitioner/complainant purchased 60 kg of paddy seeds from the respondents no. 2 and sowed them in a nursery for raising paddy saplings, to be transplanted and sown over an area of 15 acres, as claimed by him. The germination of the paddy seeds was low and the petitioner lodged a complaint with the District Development Officer (Agriculture) for inspection of the nursery. The Deputy Director of Agriculture appointed a team of Agriculture Officers for conducting the inspection. In its report, the team stated, inter alia, that the quality of the seeds appeared to be one of the reasons for poor germination in the nursery. On this evidence, which was not effectively countered by the respondent before the District Forum, the latter held that the petitioner/complainant had established his case and proved the defect in the quality of seeds supplied by the respondents. Accordingly, the District Forum awarded Rs.75,000/- as compensation towards loss of crop and Rs.25,000/- as compensation for harassment and mental agony as well as cost of the proceedings and directed that the payment be made within 30 days from the date of the order. It was this order that was challenged by the opposite parties/respondents before the State Commission, leading to the modification already mentioned.
3. We have heard Mr. Balraj Malik, Advocate at the stage of admission, after the revision petition was restored by our order dated 16.12.2011. We specifically enquired with the learned counsel for the petitioner/complainant if any documentary evidence had been filed before the District Forum (a) to substantiate that 60 kg of paddy seeds were sufficient for sowing over an area of 15 acres; (b) regarding the likely average yield of paddy in that area; and (c) regarding the prevalent market (Mandi) rate of paddy at the relevant time. He accepted that no such document/evidence was filed by the petitioner before the District Forum in support of his contentions regarding the amount of loss suffered by him on account of the alleged defects in the paddy seeds but contended that the claims of the petitioner/complainant on the loss, etc., were not denied by the opposite parties before the District Forum. It is settled law that it is for the complainant to establish the loss, if any, suffered by him on account of any defect in the goods supplied (or deficiency in any service availed of) by producing acceptable evidence, supported by documents. Mere claim of loss and/or compensation of a certain amount cannot be accepted at face value. It is thus clear that the award of the District Forum was more a conjecture than being based on any cogent evidence. The State Commission was, thus, fully justified in modulating the award in the manner it did, particularly because the technical team reported that the quality of the seeds appeared to be one of the factors responsible for poor germination of the seeds – it was thus not the sole or predominant factor.
4. In our view, therefore, there is no merit in the revision petition as it does not establish any jurisdictional error, material irregularity or legal infirmity in the impugned order of the State Commission which could warrant our interference under section 21 (b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Accordingly, the revision petition is dismissedin limine.