w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Chairman-Cum M.D., Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Co. Ltd., Tripathi & Others v/s T. Rajeswari & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- U. P. POWER CORPORATION LIMITED [Active] CIN = U32201UP1999SGC024928

Company & Directors' Information:- D B POWER LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40109MP2006PLC019008

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA POWER CORPORATION LIMITED [Active] CIN = L40105WB1919PLC003263

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA POWER CORPORATION LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U40101WB2003PLC097340

Company & Directors' Information:- SOUTHERN POWER DISTRIBUTION COMPANY OF ANDHRA PRADESH LTD [Active] CIN = U40109AP2000SGC034118

Company & Directors' Information:- B L A POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40102MH2006PTC165430

Company & Directors' Information:- L V S POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40100TG1996PTC023552

Company & Directors' Information:- S L S POWER CORPORATION LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40109AP2005PLC047008

Company & Directors' Information:- S L V POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40102KA2002PTC030448

Company & Directors' Information:- S. E. POWER LIMITED [Active] CIN = L40106GJ2010PLC091880

Company & Directors' Information:- D C POWER LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40109TG1996PLC025996

Company & Directors' Information:- POWER CORPORATION OF INDIA LIMITED [Amalgamated] CIN = U50101WB1997PLC084060

Company & Directors' Information:- B V POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40106DL2011PTC213428

Company & Directors' Information:- R AND H POWER COMPANY PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109UP1965PTC003067

Company & Directors' Information:- B R POWER LTD [Active] CIN = U40106WB1995PLC073567

Company & Directors' Information:- N M S POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109WB1999PTC089747

Company & Directors' Information:- P R B POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40101TG1995PTC020647

Company & Directors' Information:- S V G POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40300AP2012PTC084435

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U31900DL1995PTC070096

Company & Directors' Information:- M POWER INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U31908MH2012PTC234343

Company & Directors' Information:- A N S INDIA POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51101DL2014PTC266873

Company & Directors' Information:- P & M DISTRIBUTION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51109WB2007PTC115999

Company & Directors' Information:- D P S SOUTHERN PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U72200KL1983PTC003788

Company & Directors' Information:- C R E M POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40101DL2001PTC111631

Company & Directors' Information:- D T POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40300AP2015PTC097226

Company & Directors' Information:- N M TRIPATHI PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U22120MH1943PTC003900

Company & Directors' Information:- G S POWER LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40102KA2010PLC054033

Company & Directors' Information:- POWER AND POWER PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U31300AS1989PTC003282

Company & Directors' Information:- P D M POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40104AS2014PTC011780

Company & Directors' Information:- S B S POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40100AP2012PTC083965

Company & Directors' Information:- B & G POWER LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40105PB2010PLC033765

Company & Directors' Information:- MD INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999DL2016PTC306314

Company & Directors' Information:- S POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U19202DL1986PTC026505

Company & Directors' Information:- MD R INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U72400DL1999PTC097812

Company & Directors' Information:- G M POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40105PN2003PTC017857

Company & Directors' Information:- POWER INDIA PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U31102WB1983PTC036315

Company & Directors' Information:- S AND S POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40109PY2004PTC001824

Company & Directors' Information:- U S POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U40103MH2009PTC189364

Company & Directors' Information:- S & E DISTRIBUTION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74999TZ2014PTC020161

Company & Directors' Information:- M V T DISTRIBUTION PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74900KA2015PTC078055

Company & Directors' Information:- K P M POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40102KA2008PTC046804

Company & Directors' Information:- POWER-X PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U99999DL1970PTC005331

Company & Directors' Information:- S K POWER INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U31101KA2006PTC039172

Company & Directors' Information:- R G D POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U41000TG1996PTC023809

Company & Directors' Information:- M M R POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U31104DL2008PTC174079

Company & Directors' Information:- S J POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U45207HR2012PTC045937

Company & Directors' Information:- T C POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40101PB2009PTC033405

Company & Directors' Information:- H. & T. POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40106MH2016PTC287646

Company & Directors' Information:- S & O POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40107MH2010PTC206447

Company & Directors' Information:- C L M DISTRIBUTION PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909MH2003PTC142339

Company & Directors' Information:- V D M-POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74999MH2015PTC262999

Company & Directors' Information:- A C R POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74900UP2010PTC040987

Company & Directors' Information:- W N POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40101JK2013PTC004009

Company & Directors' Information:- C K S POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40101KA2010PTC052199

Company & Directors' Information:- G C I POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40107KA2010PTC053656

Company & Directors' Information:- R. C. POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40100GJ2009PTC058005

Company & Directors' Information:- J R J POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U40300GJ2015PTC082396

Company & Directors' Information:- D V N POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40101TG2007PTC053069

Company & Directors' Information:- A. R. POWER PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U74999DL2007PTC161616

    First Appeal No. 714 of 2012

    Decided On, 19 August 2020

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. PREM NARAIN
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER

    For the Appellants: G.N. Reddy, Advocate. For the Respondents: K. Radha, Advocate.



Judgment Text


This appeal has been filed by the Chairman-cum-Managing Director Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited and Others challenging the order dated 11th September 2012 passed by the Andhra Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Hyderabad (in short “the State Commission”) in consumer complaint No. 20 of 2011.

2. Brief facts of the case are that Sri T.Gopala Krishna, husband of the complainant No.1, father of the complainant Nos.2 & 3 and son of the complainant Nos.4 & 5 was an agriculturist and was having electricity service connection to his bore well with 5 HP connection vide service No.29656001287. On 02.06.2010, the said T. Gopala Krishna while operating the bore well in his agricultural field came into contact with a 11 KV main electrical wire which caught fire and fell down on him as a result of which he died on the spot. An FIR was registered with the police on the same day. The post mortem was conducted in the Government General Hospital and the cause of death was established as electrocution. According to the complainants, the deceased was 44 years old and was earning Rs.2,00,000/- p.a. by leasing his bullock cart, mulching cow, sheep rearing and from agricultural operations. Complainants alleged that it was the duty of the appellants to maintain the electric poles properly and they never rectified them even though the wire was in a sagging condition. Therefore, it is only due to the negligence of the appellant that the said T.Gopala Krishna died. Complainant, being aggrieved, filed the complaint claiming compensation of Rs.22,00,000/- along with interest and cost of Rs.10,000/-

3. The complaint was contested mainly on the ground that the incident happened due to quarreling of large number of crows and “Y” phase conductor of 11 KV wire was accidentally cut due to short circuit of conductors as an impact of large number of crows. The wire was hanging at a height of 4 feet from the ground with a support of 11 KV fuse set provided to DTR. Deceased should have avoided contact with the wire. The wires were regularly maintained by the appellants.

4. The State Commission has passed the following order on 11.09.2012:-

“In the result this complaint is allowed in part directing opposite parties to pay Rs.14,00,000/- to the complainants in the following manner.

Rs.5,25,000/- to the first complainant being the wife.

Rs.2,62,500/- each to the second and third complainants who are the minors and these amounts shall be kept in a fixed deposit under the custody of the mother till the minors attain majority.

Rs.1,75,000/- each to the parents who are the fourth and fifth complainants herein’.

The amount of Rs.50,000/- awarded would be equally shared among all the five complainants together with costs of Rs.5,000/- to be paid within four weeks from the date of receipt of this order.”

5. Heard the learned counsel for the parties and perused record. The learned counsel for the appellants stated that the State Commission had misconstrued a stray case in applying the provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 so as to invoke the jurisdiction of the Consumer Forum for a fatal accident which is covered by the Fatal Accidents Act and which is a tort which has to be decided in Civil Court and for which the Consumer Forum is not having jurisdiction.

6. In support of his arguments learned counsel for the appellants referred to the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Chairman, Grid Corporation of Orissa Ltd. (GRIDCO) and Ors. Vs. Sukamani Das (smt.) and others. (1999) 7 SCC 298 wherein it has been observed:-

“6. In our opinion, the High Court committed an error in entertaining the writ petitions even though they were not fit cases for exercising power under Article 226 of the Constitution. The High Court went wrong in proceeding on the basis that as the deaths had taken place because of electrocution as a result of the deceased coming into contact with snapped live wires of the electric transmission lines of the appellants, that “admittedly prima facie amounted to negligence on the part of the appellants”. The High Court failed to appreciate that all these cases were actions in tort and negligence was required to be established firstly by the claimants. The mere fact that the wire of the electric transmission line belonging to Appellant I had snapped and the deceased had come in contact with it and had died was not be itself sufficient for awarding compensation. It also required to be examined whether the wire had snapped as a result of any negligence of the appellants and under which circumstances the deceased had come in contact with the wire. In view of the specific defences raised by the appellants in each of these cases they deserved an opportunity to prove that proper care and precautions were taken in maintaining the transmission lines and yet the wires had snapped because of circumstances beyond their control or unauthorised intervention of third parties or that the deceased had not died in the manner stated by the petitioners. These questions could not have been decided properly on the basis of affidavits only. It is the settled legal position that where disputed questions of facts are involved a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution is not a proper remedy. The High Court has not and could not have held that the disputes in these cases were raised for the sake of raising them and that there was no substance therein. The High Court should have directed the writ petitioners to approach the civil court as it was done in OJC No.5229 of 1996.”

7. The learned counsel for the appellants stated that the State Commission was not justified in awarding a huge compensation without there being any negligence on the part of the appellants (opp. Parties) since on the date of accident, the incident happened due to quarreling of large number of crows and the “Y” Phase conductor of 11 K.V. line was accidentally cut due to short circuit of conductors which was due to impact of large crowd of crows and the snapped wire was hanging at the height of 4 feet from the ground.

8. Learned counsel for the appellants stated that the State Commission was not justified in awarding the compensation to the respondents against the appellants without there being any documentary evidence with regard to the extent of land taken on lease by the deceased to arrive at the alleged income of deceased from the said lands.

9. Learned counsel for the appellants stated that the State Commission has wrongly computed the compensation on the imaginary figure of income of the deceased as stated by the complainants when it is an admitted fact from the documents filed with the complaint that the income of the deceased/complainants from all the sources was Rs.18,000/- which was issued by the competent authority.

10. Leaned counsel for the appellants further stated that the State Commission has wrongly computed the compensation taking the age of deceased as 44 years on the date of death when from the documents filed by the complainants along with the complaint i.e. the FIR and complaint given to the concerned S.H.O.P.S. shows that age of the deceased at the time of accident was 46 years and the same fact was confirmed by the inquest report filed by the complainants.

11. On the other hand, the learned counsel for the respondent complainants stated that the State Commission has already considered all the objections raised in the appeal and has allowed the complaint on merits. The compensation has been awarded on the basis of the formula for compensation in the motor accident claims cases. Thus, there is no error in the calculation of the compensation. The State Commission has decided the annual income of the deceased on the basis of the evidence produced by the complainants and the opposite party has not produced any evidence contradicting the assertions of the complainants. Accordingly, there is no error in the calculation of income of the deceased by the State Commission.

12. I have carefully considered the arguments advanced by both the learned counsel for the parties and have examined the record. It is seen that there is a delay of 40 days in filing the present appeal, however, this delay has already been condoned by this Commission vide order dated 10th January 2013.

13. The main legal objection raised by the appellants is that the consumer forum is not competent to look into this type of disputes as the same is a sort of tort which can only be decided by a civil court. The learned counsel for the appellants has relied upon the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Chairman, Grid Corporation of Orissa Ltd. (GRIDCO) and Ors. Vs. Sukamani Das (smt.) and others (supra) which is a case of 1998. This Commission decided OP No.253 of 2002, Smt. Munesh Devi Vs. U.P.Power Corporation Ltd. & ors, decided on 03.02.2014 as a consumer dispute and the Hon’ble Supreme Court has upheld the decision of this Commission in the SLP, Civil Appeal No.5672 of 2014, decided on 22.08.2014. This shows that the Hon’ble Supreme Court has now accepted such cases within the ambit of consumer disputes. The question of such complainants being consumer or not within the purview of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, has been examined in detail by this Commission in Managing Director cum Chairman T.S. Transco & Ors. Vs. Mohd. Noorullha Shareef & Ors. FA No.235 of 2010 & FA 352 of 2010, decided on 07.03.2018 (NC) and it has been found that such complainants would be deemed to be consumers. This Commission in this judgment has observed as under:-

“9. The State Commission has given its award on the basis of judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in M.P. Electricity Board Vs. Shail Kumar, 2002 (2) ALD 4(SC), wherein the Hon’ble Supreme Court has allowed the compensation on the basis of strict liability. However, that was not a case under consumer Protection Act. This Commission in OP No.253 of 2002, titled Smt. Munesh Devi Vs. U.P. Power Corporation Ltd., & Ors., decided on 03.02.2014, has allowed the complaint which was a similar matter where the death of the husband of the complainant was caused due to the transformer installed and maintained by the opposite parties, while he was returning home from duty. He was taken to the Hospital, where he succumbed to burn injuries. This Commission awarded compensation of Rs.25.00 lakhs along with interest. Aggrieved by that order SLP was filed by the opposite parties. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Civil Appeal no.5672 of 2014 dismissed the SLP vide its order dated 22.08.2014. This was a peculiar case where the complainant had earlier filed civil case against the opposite parties for damages and compensation, however, the same could not be pursued as the complainant could not pay the court fees and her request to exempt from the payment of court fees was rejected by the High Court and by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. In that situation, the complainant filed complaint case before this Commission under Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and the same was allowed by this Commission and SLP filed against that order was dismissed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. These facts clearly show that the Hon’ble Supreme Court has accepted jurisdiction of the consumer fora to decide such cases. Against this, no confirmation by the Hon’ble Supreme court in the cases decided by this Commission as referred to by the learned counsel for the OP/A.P. Transco (now T.S. Transco) has been brought to my notice. Thus, after confirmation of the jurisdiction of consumer fora by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, I do not see any doubt in exercise of jurisdiction by the consumer fora to decide such complaints. Indirectly, this implies that the complainants meet the criteria for being a consumer in such cases. Moreover, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board (supra) has established the principle that the OP will be liable from the strict liability point of view to compensate the complainant.”

14. Moreover, Section 3 of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 provides for an alternate remedy and therefore a complainant can file a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act 1986 instead of taking action under the Fatal Accidents Act if the complainant can come under the category of consumer under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 1986.

15. Now coming to the objection raised by the appellants in respect of the calculation of income of the deceased, it is seen that the State Commission has observed the following:-

“For the aforementioned reasons, we are of the considered view that there is deficiency in service on behalf of the opposite parties in not maintaining the electric wires thereby leading to the death of T.Gopala Krishna who was having agricultural fields to an extent of Ac.1.14 and had also taken on lease lands totaling to Ac.10.21 as evidenced under Exs.A14 A15 and A16. The opposite parties did not take any steps to examine K. Polli Reddy, P. Harshavardhan Reddy and V.Gopalaiah who filed third party affidavit stating that the deceased cultivated Ac.10.21 and also got income from other sources by leasing out his bullock cart, mulching cow, sheep rearing etc. to an extent of Rs.1,50,000/- p.a. Ex.A1, FIR evidences that the age of the deceased is 44 years and when we apply the multiplier of 14, the amount is Rs.150,000/- less 1/3rd =Rs.1,00,000/- x 14 = Rs.14,00,000/-. We also award Rs.50,000/- towards loss of love and affection and loss of estate as we are not inclined to award interest together with costs of Rs.5,000/-.”

16. From the above, it is clear that the State Commission has relied upon the documentary as well as oral evidence by third parties in assessing the income of the deceased. The opposite parties have not examined the third parties who have given their evidence in favor of the complainants. Onus was on the opposite parties to have rebutted the evidence given by the third parties either by way of documentary evidence or by way of oral evidence of some other parties. Thus, there is no ground to interfere with the finding of the State Commission in respect of the income arrived at for calculating the compensation. Another objection has been raised in respect of the age of the deceased. The State Commission has taken the age of the deceased to be 44 years whereas, the contention of the appellants is that as par the documents submitted by the complainants themselves like the FIR and the complaint given to the SHO as well as the inquest report

Please Login To View The Full Judgment!

, the age of the deceased was 46 years at the time of accident. Thus, the compensation should have been calculated on the basis of this age. It is seen from the record that the appellants have not filed certified copies of the documents on which they wanted to rely for the proof of age of the deceased. Thus, the assertion of the opposite parties cannot be accepted without any proof. The complainants have stated in the complaint the age of the deceased at the time of accident to be 44 years and the State Commission has also relied on some other evidence to take the age of the deceased as 44 years. State Commission has also mentioned FIR as a document on which the age of 44 years has been ascertained. In these circumstances, I do not see any reason to find fault with the finding of the State Commission particularly in the absence of any proof filed by the appellants before this Commission. Hence, I do not find any merit in the argument of the learned counsel for the appellants that the age of the deceased should have been considered to be 46 years. 17. Based on the above discussion, I do not find any merit in the present appeal and accordingly the FA No. 714 of 2012 is dismissed. 50% of the awarded amount by the State Commission was deposited by the appellants with this Commission as mentioned in the order dated 10th January 2013 and 4th July 2013. This amount be released to the complainants by the Registry of this Commission within a period of 30 days from the date of this order and the remaining amount should be paid by the appellants within a period of 45 days from the date of receipt of this order.
O R