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Branch Manager, The Peerless General Finance & Investment Co. Ltd. & Another v/s Pandey Mritunjay Prosad

    Revision Petition No. 2331 of 2015

    Decided On, 18 December 2015

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER

    For the Petitioner: Appearance not marked. For the Respondent: ---------



Judgment Text

1. The complainant/respondent purchased a bond of Rs. 20,000/- from the petitioner through its agent, for a period of 20 years on 25.03.1981. The amount of the bond was payable in installments. The bond, according to the complainant, was received by him at his place though an agent of the petitioner company. This is also the case of the complainant that he continued to deposit his installments in the office of the petitioner company. The last installment according to the complainant, was deposited by him on 28.03.2000. On maturity of the bond, no payment was made to the complainant. It is alleged by the complaint that the concerned Branch Manager of the petitioner company had asked him to deposit the receipts in his office and accordingly, he had deposited the said receipts in the Branch Office of the petitioner company, for being replaced with regular receipts, but the petitioner company failed to issue regular receipts to him. Since the maturity amount was not paid to the complainant, he approached the concerned District Forum with a complaint, seeking payment of the bond amount of Rs. 20,000/- alongwith bonus amount of Rs. 9,200/-, compensation and the cost of litigation.

2. The complaint was resisted by the petitioner company by filing a reply dated 15.02.2006. The complainant was resisted primarily on the ground that the District Forum at Kaimur had no territorial jurisdiction to adjudicate the complaint and the complaint in any case was barred by limitation. None of the factual averments made in the complaint were disputed in the reply filed by the petitioner company before the District Forum.

3. The District Forum, vide its order dated 31.07.2009, dismissed the complaint as barred by limitation. Being aggrieved from the aforesaid order, the complainant approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. Vide impugned order dated 22.07.2015, the State Commission allowed the appeal filed by the complainant. Being aggrieved, the petitioner company is before this Commission by way of this revision petition.

4. As noted earlier, the petitioner did not dispute any of the factual averments made in the complaint and the complaint was resisted only on the two grounds, the first being that the District Forum at Kaimur did not have territorial jurisdiction to entertain the complaint and the other one that the complaint was barred by limitation.

5. As far as the territorial jurisdiction is concerned, the State Commission ruled against the petitioner, giving the following reasons:

'As far as the point raised challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the complainant by the respondent co. is concerned, it appears from the record that the bond in question here was issued by the respondent co. in the name of the appellant who is a resident of a village under District Kaimur and the said bond of the appellant was received at his residence through the authorized agent of the respondent co.- Rajeshwar Lal Shrivastava. So in view of the fact that the respondent co. who used to provide services in the field of investment business by depositing money and issuance of bonds to the consumers covering whole state of Bihar through their authorized agents working on behalf of the co., we are of the opinion that the District Forum- Kaimur-Bhabhua has the territorial jurisdiction to redress the grievance of the appellant/complainant in the matter.'

Even if I presume that the District Forum at Kaimur did not have the territorial jurisdiction to entertain the complaint, this Commission will not be justified in interfering with the order of the District Forum unless it is shown that there has been a failure of justice, on account of wrong exercise of the territorial jurisdiction. In the present case, no prejudice was caused to the petitioner company on account of territorial jurisdiction having been exercised by the District Forum at Kaimur. Therefore, this Commission, while exercising its revisional jurisdiction, will not be justified in interfering with the impugned order on the ground that the concerned District Forum did not have territorial jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.

6. As far as the issue of limitation is concerned, I find that the complainant specifically alleged in para 13 of the complaint that he sent letters dated 29.11.2001 and 14.03.2002 to the petitioner through UPC and when he did not receive any reply, he met the Branch Manager on 22.08.2002 and asked him to give reasons for not making the payment. The aforesaid averment was not denied in the reply filed by the petitioner company before the District Forum. In para 15, the complainant also alleged that since no letter was received by him from the petitioner, he wrote another letter dated 22.01.2003 but when he received no reply, he met the Branch Manager on 20.06.2003 asking for the reasons for not initiating any action whatsoever. The averments made in para 15 of the complaint were not denied in the reply filed before the District Forum. Thus, the petitioner company did not dispute before the District Forum either the letters alleged to have been written to it by the complainant from time to time or the meetings dated 22.08.2002 & 20.06.2003.

7. In my view, since the petitioner company did not dispute its liability to pay the maturity amount of the bond to the complainant, he had a continuing cause of action at least for a reasonable time from the date on which the bond matured. If a reasonable time of say three years is given for the purpose, the period of limitation would commence from 31.03.2004 and having been filed on 03.08.2005, the complaint wuld be within limitation.

8. For the reasons stated hereinabove, I do not find any merit in either of the objections taken by the petitioner company before the District Forum.

9. The learned counsel for the petitioner company states that in fact the complainant had made only one installment and since the subsequent installments were not made, there can be no question of refunding the amount of bond to him. I however, find that no such plea was taken by the petitioner company in its reply filed before the District Forum. As noted earlier, the petitioner company did not dispute any of the factual averments made by the complainant, in its reply filed before the District Forum. Therefore, the petitioner company cannot be allowed to say at this stage that the complainant had not paid any installment when it did not dispute his averment in the complaint to

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the effect that he had paid all the installments and the receipts evidencing all those payments were given by him to the concerned Branch Manager for being replaced with the regular receipts. 10. For the reasons stated hereinabove, I find no justification for interfering with the impugned order in exercise of the revisional jurisdiction of this Commission. However, considering that a sum of Rs. 10,000/- has already been remitted to the complainant as conveyance charges, no compensation to the complainant is warranted. Accordingly, the petitioner company will pay only a sum of Rs. 29,200/- alongwith interest on that amount @ 9% per annum w.e.f. 31.03.2001 till the date the aforesaid amount is actually paid.
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