At, Madya Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Bhopal
By, THE HONOURABLE DR.(MRS.) MONIKA MALIK
By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. S.S. BANSAL
For the Appellant: M.L. Gupta, Learned Counsel. For the Respondents: ----------
Dr. Monika Malik
1. This appeal by the complainant/appellant is directed against the order dated 12.02.2021 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Bhind (for short ‘District Commission’) in C.C.No.34/2021 whereby the complaint filed by the complainant has been dismissed on the ground that the complainant is not a consumer as defined under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
2. Briefly stated, the facts of the case as narrated by the complainant are that he had obtained 20 HP, three phase electricity connection no.2284705-72-1-8900040000 from the opposite party-the electricity company for running an oil mill for the purpose of earning his livelihood. No employee from outside was employed in the oil mill, run by the complainant. The complainant along with his family members used to work in the aforesaid oil mill for earning their livelihood by way of self-employment. It is alleged that the complainant was regularly paying the bills of the electricity meter installed in the premises but the opposite party in the month of February-2020 raised a demand for a sum of Rs.1,61,439/- on account of previous dues. Alleging deficiency in service on part of opposite party he therefore filed a complaint before the District Commission seeking relief.
4. Learned counsel for the complainant/appellant argued that the opposite party electricity company has been deficient in service in raising a demand for a sum of Rs.1,61,439/- in the month of February-2020 and threatening him regarding disconnection of electricity supply, in case the amount is not deposited. The complainant is a regular payer of the electricity bills issued by the opposite party, and demand as aforesaid raised by the opposite party is unlawful. He further submits that the opposite party is forcing the complainant to deposit the entire dues and can disconnect his electricity supply anytime. He argued that the District Commission is erroneous in dismissing the complaint as being not maintainable on the ground that he had obtained a commercial electricity connection, even when there is specific submission in the pleadings that he had obtained the aforesaid electricity connection for an oil mill, run by him for earning his livelihood by way of self-employment.
5. After hearing learned counsel for the appellant and having gone through the appeal memo and record of the District Commission, as also the impugned order, we find that the District Commission has dismissed the complaint at the admission stage as not being maintainable. It is held in the impugned order that the complainant had obtained an electricity connection under the industrial tariff for running his oil mill and therefore, the dispute raised by the complainant cannot be adjudicated before the District Commission.
6. On due consideration, we are of a considered view that the District Commission ought to have issued notice to opposite party and subsequently should have derived at proper conclusion before passing the impugned order. The submission of the opposite party on the aforesaid aspect ought to have been considered before dismissing the complaint case at the admission stage.
7. In view of the aforesaid, we remand the matter back to the District Commission for decision afresh. All the contentions of the parties, including the one regarding maintainability of the complaint are kept open.
8. Appellant is directed to appear before the District Commission on 08.10.2021.
9. The District Commission is directed to proceed further in the matter, in accordance with law after issuing notice to the op
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posite party. Record of the District Commission along with the applications for interim relief, filed by the complainant/appellant be sent at the earliest. Needless to mention that observations made hereinabove shall not come in way of the District Commission, while passing the order. 10. With the aforesaid observations and directions, this appeal stands disposed of. However, no order as to costs.