MSK Jaiswal, President
This is an appeal filed under section 15 of C.P Act by the appellant/complainant aggrieved by the order of the District Forum-III, Hyderabad dated 2.8.2017 in C.C.No. 425/2016 wherein the complaint was partly allowed, directing the opp.party to pay a sum of Rs. 1,00,000/- towards compensation and a sum of Rs. 5000/- towards costs.
2. For the sake of convenience the parties are referred to as arrayed in the complaint.
3. The case of the complainant in brief is that he is a Member of the Indian Armed Forces, serving as Brigadier and he being lured by the tourist itineraries said to be provided by opp.party, decided to visit China and HongKong along with his wife and daughter and engaged the services of the opposite party for booking of travel tickets and for taking care of boarding, lodging and site seeing. The complainant paid a sum of Rs. 2,09,625/- and Rs. 25,000/- towards the cost of all the services to be provided by them. The complainant and his family were allotted seat nos.1A,1B and 1C to travel by Bullet train, but at Shanghai Railway Station he was directed to occupy seat no.3A in the place of 1A for which he refused to do so. The complainant was shocked to know that seat no.1 was earmarked to the Chinese national and the said ticket was handed over to him. The complainant immediately on noticing the fraud, brought the said fact to the notice of the Tour Manager of the opposite, but she expressed her inability to do anything. The complainant on reaching Beijing railway station terrified of being checked at the exit point, as he was easily identifiable being a foreigner and being arrested for travelling on a forged ticket, but fortunately no one checked the ticket at the exit point. The complainant immediately on return to India, brought to the notice of the management of the opposite party the horrific experience from day one to last day of the tour, through E-mails and telephonic conversations. The opposite party has accepted the illegal act of their representative and deficiency of service offered during the tour. The complainant issued a legal notice dated 3.8.2015, but the opp.party has not bothered to reply the legal notice. Hence the complainant approached the District Forum.
4. The opposite party filed Written Version admitting the fact that the complainant availed their services for tour programme to China along with group with a group leader and coordinator being Brigadier Vijay Mishra. The opposite parties had done the bookings through overseas supplier i.e. "Top View Holiday Travel and Tours". The opposite party is an agent of the complainant to secure proper services for the tour from independent contractors and service providers and not in control of operating the service overseas. As son of Brig. Sindhu was arriving into Beijing on 1st June 2015 instead of 31st May 2015, there was a cancellation request for cancelling the ticket, but instead of cancellation of the ticket of the said person, inadvertently the ticket of the complainant got cancelled by the supplier. It is admitted that the opposite party has taken strict action against suppliers and black listed the same for further tours. The Tour Manager was also travelling along with the complainant in order to take care of the complainant. The complainant was provided with comfortable hotel rooms, but as he was not satisfied with the rooms, the tour manager assisted in allotment of a bigger rooms and changed the hotel at Beijing. Though the Restaurant Manager had cautioned the complainant not to take videos due to security reasons at China, but since the complainant did not heed the advice, he was asked to leave the restaurant. For the legal notice issued by the complainant, they have issued reply notice dated 30.6.2015. The opposite party denied deficiency of service on their part and prayed for dismissal of the complaint.
5. District Forum after considering of the material available on record and after hearing both sides, allowed the complaint in part, directing the opposite party to pay the complainant a sum of Rs. 1,00,000/- towards compensation and a sum of Rs. 5,000/- towards costs.
6. Aggrieved by the said order, the appellant/complainant preferred this appeal contending that the order of the Dist. Forum requires an interference by this Hon'ble State Commission on the ground that most important and genuine facts of the case are not considered while allowing the complaint in part. The appellant contended that the District Forum knowing fully well that the respondent/opp.party was deficient in the service, awarded a meager compensation of Rs. 1,00,000/- and allowed the complaint in part. The appellant further contended that the District Forum ought to have appreciated in right perspective the grievance of the appellant/complainant while awarding meager compensation of Rs. 1,00,000/- which is most unreasonable and unjustifiable and needs interference by this Commission and prayed to allow the appeal as prayed for.
7. The point for consideration is whether impugned order passed by the District Forum is liable to be modified ?
8. The admitted fact is that the appellant t/complainant has been put to untold hardship and inconvenience by the sheer acts of omissions, commissions and negligence on the part of the respondents/opp.parties. The fact that he was subjected to certain amount of humiliation in the presence of his co-workers and others is insurmountable. The District Forum has carefully and critically analyzed the entire material on record and has found it that awarding a sum of Rs. 1,00,000/- as compensation for all the mental agony, trauma and anguish, which the complainant underwent would be just and reasonable.
9. The learned counsel appearing for the appellant/complainant vehemently submits that it is a fit case where the compensation need to be enhanced, so as to uphold the dignity of the complainant and his profession to which he belongs.
10. It is no doubt true that the complainant was subjected to certain harassment, but the record reveals that the respondent/opp.party has realized that folly and
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even reprimanded the concerned and apologized the complainant, that itself would have been sufficient for the respectable person like complainant. The Forum below still went on to award compensation of Rs. 1 lakh. 11. Upon hearing the submissions of both sides elaborately and appraisal of oral and documentary evidence on record and taking into consideration the totality of the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the opinion that the District Forum is justified in quantifying the compensation at Rs. 1,00,000/-, which do not warrant any interference. There are no merits in the appeal and is liable to be dismissed. 12. In the result, appeal is dismissed.