At, Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Thiruvananthapuram
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S.S. SATHEESACHANDRAN
By, PRESIDENT & THE HONOURABLE MR. V.V. JOSE
For the Appellants: Cherunniyoor P. Sasidharan Nair, N.G. Mahesh, Advocates. For the Respondent: J.P. Sandhya, Advocate.
S.S. Satheesachandran : President
Opposite parties in CC.No.08/13 of the District Forum, Malappuram are the appellants. The forum upholding the complaint of the respondent, hereinafter referred to as the complainant, directed the appellants to pay Rs.25,000/- as compensation for monetary loss and mental agony suffered and Rs.5000/- as cost to the complainant. Aggrieved by that Order appellants have preferred this appeal.
2. Complainant moved the complaint before the forum alleging that his CPU got damaged due to over voltage from lines drawn to have Asianet broad band services for internet connection. Occurrence took place on 16.12.2012. According to him, opposite parties on being intimated of the occurrence replaced the modem but not compensated him for the loss of CPU. He claimed compensation of Rs.60,000/- and also litigation expenses of Rs.10,000/- alleging that as a home based editor (Medical transcription ) he was attending to his works from home for a company in Bangalore. Since his CPU was damaged he suffered heavy loss as he could not continue his work was his case. Disputing the case of complainant opposite parties filed a version contending that if over voltage had caused damage it should be attributed to Kerala State Electricity Board which provided electric supply. It is further contended that the cable line provided by the opposite parties was not burned and was still working. Inspection of the CPU and modem, according to the opposite parties, revealed that over voltage came from CPU and not from LAN line cable. Opposite party contending as above disputed its liable to pay compensation.
3. Evidence consisted of sworn testimony of complainant as PW1 and Ext.A1 for the complainant. He also identified MO1 to MO3 to prove his case. On behalf of the respondent one witness was examined as DW1.
4. Appreciating the materials produced the forum accepted the case of complainant and awarded him compensation as indicated earlier.
5. We heard the counsel on both sides.
6. Learned counsel for complainant impeached the maintainability of complaint contending that with respect to services covered by telecom forums have no jurisdiction. It was also contended that even assuming that the CPU of the complainant got damaged sum awarded as compensation was excessive and unreasonable. No material was produced to show what was the value of CPU damaged and as such compensation fixed by a forum was arbitrary and not based on evidence. Damaged CPU on examination showed that the cable of LAN connection was not burned and it indicated that high voltage passed not from LAN connection but some way otherwise. On the other hand, learned counsel for the respondent contending that even the witness examined by opposite parties as DW1 unequivocally stated that the modem was also found damaged on his inspection and that indicated supply of high voltage electricity passed through the modem as well, which could be only by way of LAN connection provided by the opposite parties. In such circumstances, compensation awarded by the forum below does not warrant any interference is the submission of counsel.
7. Challenge against the maintainability of appeal canvassed by the learned counsel for appellant is bereft of merit since all questions our jurisdiction of forums, to examine disputes related to telecom services under the Consumer Protection Act stands resolved by the decision of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in ‘Harendra Maurya versus General Manager, Telecom and others’ ( 2017(2) CPR 65 (NC) National Commission has held that forums constituted under the Act are competent to entertain disputes between individual telecom consumers and telecom service providers. Nothing more would be said over maintainability question raised.
8. Perusing the records of the case with reference to the order challenged and also submissions made by the counsel on both sides we find the finding entered by the forum that the CPU of the complainant got damaged through high voltage passing through the LAN connection provided by opposite parties is fully supported by evidence. As rightly pointed out by the learned counsel for complainant the evidence of DW1, witness examined by the opposite parties, would also convincingly prove that high over voltage was through LAN connection. The only question remaining for consideration is over the quantum fixed by the forum. In the complaint a sum of Rs.60,000/- was claimed as compensation alleging that he suffered huge loss due to damages of his CPU. He could not send money to his parents, and also was not able to do any work, was his further case to claim such compensation. Strangely enough he has not produced any material to show when he purchased his computer including the CPU and what was its price. In the absence of such best of piece of evidence which was withheld it was unreasonable for the forum to fix compensation at Rs.25,000/- for the damaged CPU. Needless to say compensation for damages cannot be granted for causes which a
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re too remote. We are of the view that in the proved facts of the case compensation and cost awarded has to be reduced, and accordingly we hold that complainant is entitled to only Rs.15,000/- as compensation for the damaged CPU and Rs.2000/- as cost. The Order of the lower forum is modified accordingly. 9. Compensation fixed, as modified in appeal, has to be paid to the complainant within a period of one month from the date of this judgment, failing which it shall carry interest rate of 8% per annum from the date of the complaint till realization.