At, Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Thiruvananthapuram
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE L. MANOHARAN
By, THE HONOURABLE PROF. K. MADHURI LATHA
By, MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. PROF. R. VIJAYAKRISHNAN
For the Appellant: K. Hamza, Advocate. For the Respondent: Kottoor B. Gopalakrishna Pillai, Advocate.
L. Manoharan, President:
1. The opposite party in O.P. No. 170/97 on the file of the District Forum, Malappuram, is the appellant. The complainant alleged before the District Forum that the opposite party received Rs. 20,000/- from him on 8.8.1996 promising to arrange a visa from the complainant for a job as Plumper in Jeddah University in Soudi Arabia. This he had done in response to an advertisement in the Madhyamam Daily dated 1.8.1996. Pursuant
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o the said agreement the complainant handed over his Passport and N.O.C. to the opposite party and also paid the aforesaid Rs. 20,000/-. He had also spent another sum of Rs. 3,500/- for journey to meet the opposite party on seven occasions. But the opposite party neither gave the visa nor returned the amount inspite of demands. Therefore, he claimed for the return of the amount, viz., Rs. 20,000/- with interest @ 20% and also for return of the Passport and N.O.C. with a compensation of 2,500/-. The opposite party in his version apart from maintaining that he is not competent for labour recruitment, denied the allegations in the complaint in his having received Rs. 20,000/- or made promise to obtain visa for the complainant. He insisted that between himself and the complainant there was no contract as alleged Therefore, he wanted dismissal of the complaint. Before the District Forum the complainant gave evidence as P.W. 1 and also produced Exts. Al to A4. The opposite party though filed version did not appear on the date on which the matter came up for his evidence. Ultimately the District Forum made a direction to the opposite party to pay Rs. 22,500/- with 15% interest and awarded Rs. 500/- as costs. Aggrieved by the same the opposite party has come up in appeal.2. Learned Counsel for the appellant sought to maintain that even though the opposite party/ appellant had contended in his version mat he has no authority for labour recruitment that aspect was not considered by the District Forum. It was also contended that the opposite party was not given opportunity to lead evidence and according to the learned Counsel the evidence on record was hardly sufficient to find a contract as alleged by the complainant in the complaint. The District Forum found in favour of the complainant on the basis of his evidence as P.W. 1 and also Exts. Al to A4. According to the Counsel for the appellant had the appellant been given enough opportunity to lead evidence he would have been able to adduce rebuttal evidence and in the interest of justice it is absolutely necessary that the appellant is given a chance to lead evidence. On the other hand the learned Counsel for the respondent/complainant maintained that, the complainant’s evidence on record itself would show as a matter of fact his case is genuine and true. He also made particular reference to Ext. A2 receipt which P.W. 1 said, was issued by the appellant on his receiving Rs. 20,000/-. Therefore, he maintained that, the direction made by the District Forum does not call for any interference. In reply to the same the learned Counsel for the appellant maintained that the acceptability of the evidence of P.W. 1 and the receipt have to be tested against what the opposite party has to say in the matter. According to him such an opportunity has to be given to the opposite party as according to the learned Counsel failure to lead evidence by the opposite party was not intentional.3. We have gone through the order sheet in this case. The same shows that, the opposite party/appellant had obtained adjournments and only later the District Forum disallowed the request for adjournment and proceed to hear the matter and disposed off the same. In such situation though in the interest of justice the opposite party can be given one more opportunity to lead evidence that cannot be unconditional and should be on payment of costs. In the result the impugned order will stand set aside and the matter restored to file of the District Forum provided the opposite party pays to the complainant/respondent Rs. 1,000/- or deposits the said amount before the District Forum to the credit of the complainant on or before 15.3.1999. If the cost is paid or deposited as above the District Forum shall restore the complaint to file and give an opportunity to the opposite party to lead evidence. In that event it would be open tothe complainant also to produce such further evidence in support of his case if the complainant feels such evidence is necessary. If the cost is not paid or deposited as indicated above, the appeal will stand dismissed with costs. Parties will appear before the District Forum on 15.3.1999.
"2001 (2) CPJ 249,"