Appellant Ashish Choudhary has challenged the order dated 18.09.2017 and further orders dated 20.12.2017, 11.05.2018, 24.08.2018 and 13.09.2018 passed in consumer complaint No. CC/192/2012 by the West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Kolkata ('the State Commission') in the present appeal.2. The brief facts of the case are that the Complainant's wife was admitted in the Calcutta Medical Research Institute (the OP No.1) on 20.08.2012 under Dr Basudeb Mukherjee (the OP No.4) for M.T.P. (Medical Termination of Pregnancy) and Laparoscopic ligation. The patient was taken to O.T., on that date and had undergone the said surgical operation. The said Doctor intimated the complainant repeated occasions that the operation of his wife was successful, but due to a cardiac arrest, she did not regain her consciousness immediately after the operation, and therefore, she was taken to I.C.U. but he assured that the condition of the patient was under control.3. The said Doctor and the said Hospital asked the Complainant to pay a hefty amount towards their respective charges and the Complainant had paid Rs.2,14,500/- towards the same.4. However, on 03.09.2012, the Hospital authorities declared that the patient, i.e., the Complainant's wife had died and asked the Complainant to deposit further amount towards Hospital charges. The complainant asked the Hospital authorities to hand over the documents like the documents relating to the treatment of his wife being (i) pre-operative status of the patient, (ii) pre-operative treatment provided to the patient, if any, (iii) anesthesia note, (iv) O.T. documents and (v) documents regarding treatment in I.C.U. Ultimately after repeated requests, on 31.10.2012 the hospital gave Bed Head Ticket (BHT) of his wife to the complainant but the BHT did not contain the O.T. documents and anesthesia notes.5. Aggrieved by the negligence on the part of OPs, the complainant filed the complaint before the State Commission (still pending).6. The learned counsel for the appellant stated that at the evidence stage, a questionnaire was filed by the appellant on 9th March 2017 and the State Commission passed the following order:"Order no.22 - Complainant and OPs nos.1 to 3 are present through their Ld Advocates. Complainant filed questionnaire. Copy served. Fix 03.05.2017 for filing reply by the OPs".7. Then on 18.09.2017, reply was filed only by opposite party No.1 and time was given by the State Commission to other OPs to file the reply to the questionnaire. Then on 20.12.2017, the State Commission has stated that the reply has been filed by opposite party No.1 and no reply has been filed by OP Nos.4 and 5 as OP Nos.2 and 3 have adopted the reply of OP No.1. This order reads as under:"None appears on behalf of the complainant. OP nos. 1 to 3 are present through their Ld Advocate. The Ld Advocate for the OP nos.1 to 3 submitted that OP nos. 2 and 3 adopted the reply filed by the OP no.1. No reply is filed by the OP nos. 4 and 5. Fix 11.05.2018 for hearing".8. On the next date i.e. on 11.05.2018, the State Commission has not passed any order in respect of the reply to be filed by opposite party No.4 and 5 and listed the matter for 24.08.2018 for hearing of the complaint case. Similarly on further date of 24.08.2018, the complainant was given the last opportunity for final hearing to be held on 13.09.2018. Thus, the State Commission finally exempted the OP Nos. 4 and 5 to file the reply of the questionnaire. Either the OP Nos. 4 and 5 should have filed the reply or a clear order should have been passed that they have not filed the reply and therefore consequences will follow. The State Commission has not passed any such order and therefore, the interest of the complainant has not been watched by the State Commission. As OP Nos. 4 and 5 are very important opposite parties, they must file their response to the questionnaire or a clear order should be passed against them in this regard.9. On the other hand, the learned counsel for the respondents stated that respondent Nos.4 and 5 have already filed their written version as well as the evidence before the State Commission. The respondents cannot be forced to file reply to the questionnaire. In fact, no date was fixed by the State Commission for filing of the reply to the questionnaire by respondent Nos.4 and 5 after 20.12.2017 and the matter was listed for hearing after this date. Thus, there is no fault of respondent Nos.4 and 5 in this regard.10. I have carefully considered the arguments of both the sides and have examined the record. It seems that the questionnaire was served on the opposite parties on 9 March 2017 and they were th asked to file the reply by the State Commission. The opposite party No.1 files reply on 18.09.2017 and opposite party Nos.2 and 3 adopted the same on 20.12.2017, however, no reply was filed by opposite party Nos.4 and 5. In fact, on the next date of hearing, the State Commission should have observed in its order whether the reply was filed by OP Nos.4 and 5 and if the same was not filed, what consequential action will follow against them or they are exempted. Without passing any such order, the State Commission listed the matter for final hearing. Clearly, the interest of the complainant has been adversely affected as he will not be in a position to argue the matter at the final stage based on the replies of respondents. Obviously, if respondent Nos. 4 and 5 do not want to file the reply, the State Commission should clearly record that OP Nos.4 and 5 do not want to file reply and consequential inference will be drawn.11. Based on the above discussion, the appeal is partly allowed and it is directed that the State Commission should pass a clear order before final hearing for giving a specia
Please Login To View The Full Judgment!
l opportunity to opposite party Nos.4 and 5 to file the replies to the questionnaire filed by the complainant. If the replies are not filed within the time given by the State Commission, then the State Commission should clearly conclude that the OP Nos. 4 and 5 have not filed the reply to the questionnaire and consequential inference will be drawn at the time of final hearing. After completing these steps, the matter should be listed for final hearing. Copy of this order be sent to the parties as well as to the State Commission by speed post so that the parties may act accordingly on the next date of hearing before the State Commission.