At, Maharshtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Nagpur
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. B.A. SHAIKH
By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. S.B. SAWARKAR
For the Appellants: W.G. Pounikar, Advocate. For the Respondents: None.
B.A. Shaikh, Presiding Member:
1. This appeal is preferred by the original opposite party Nos. 1&2 (to be referred as appellants.) against the order dated 23/06/2003 passed in consumer complaint bearing CC No. 05/2002 filed by the respondent No.1 herein. As per said order, passed by the District Consumer Forum, Chandrapur, the said complaint has been partly allowed. The respondent Nos. 2&3 herein are original opposite party Nos. 3&4.
2. The case of the original complainant/ respondent No. 1 as set out in the complaint in brief is that he is a farmer and he had brought raw cotton loaded in five bullock carts for selling to the appellants and respondent Nos. 2&3 under the Government Scheme. Though he had brought the said cotton at usual collection center on 29/12/1999, the appellants and respondent Nos. 2&3 did not weigh the same and did not purchase the cotton for 11 days i.e. till 08/01/2000. It was the policy of the Government that the appellants should purchase the cotton within 48 hours from the time when the raw cotton is brought to their center by a farmer. It is also alleged that after purchasing of the cotton, the payment was delayed by the appellants. Therefore, the respondent No.1 claiming deficiency in service on the part of the appellants and respondent Nos. 2&3, filed the consumer complaint and claimed Rs.14,000/- towards expenses incurred by him for waiting period of 11 days and he also claimed cost of the complaint.
3. The said complaint was resisted by the appellants by filing their common written reply. They admitted that the five bullock carts loaded with raw cotton were brought to their cotton collection center on 29/12/1999 and weightment of his cotton was made on 08/01/2000. They denied that cotton was purchased after 11 days of stay of Bullock carts at cotton collection center. It is further denied that the respondent No.1 incurred such expenses during waiting period of 11 days. It is their case in brief that the respondent No.1 is not a consumer as they are purchasing cotton through respondent Nos. 2&3. The cotton grower bring raw cotton at the cotton center and for their convenience, serial numbers are given by way of token and that they are not responsible for any waiting period. It is also submitted by them that they are implementing scheme of the Government of Maharashtra and it is their statutory body to issue the licence for purchasing the agricultural produce to the various persons and federation. It is the duty of A.P.M.C to measure the cotton and to make sufficient arrangement for which the appellants are paying cess as per prescribed rate. Thus, they submitted that the Forum has no jurisdiction to decide the complaint under the Consumer Protection Act. They therefore submitted that the complaint may be dismissed.
4. The respondent No.3 also filed written version and denied the allegation made in the complaint and submitted that complaint may be dismissed.
5. The respondent No. 2 failed to appear before the District Consumer Forum despite of service of notice served by the Forum and therefore, the Forum proceeded without written version the respondent No. 2.
6. The Forum below after hearing both the parties and considering evidence brought on record, observed in the impugned order that as per the statement of Cotton Federation Minister Mr. Ganpatrao Deshmukh, made in the Legislative Assembly on 17/12/1999 that the cotton was required to be weighted within 48 hours of its bringing to the cotton center. The Forum also observed in the impugned order that as raw cotton was purchased after 10 days delayed by the appellants and respondent Nos. 2, they have rendered deficient service to the complainant/respondent No.1 herein and it is also negligence on their part and therefore, they are liable to pay compensation to the complainant/ respondent No.1 herein. The Forum also directed the appellants and O.P. No. 3/respondent No.2 herein to pay to the complainant/respondent No.1 herein compensation of Rs.10,000/- and cost of Rs.1000/- and to see that the said deficiency is not repeated in future.
7. Feeling aggrieved by the said order, the original O.P. Nos.1&2/appellants herein have preferred this appeal. We have heard Advocate Mr. W.G Pounikar, who appeared for the appellants. The respondents failed to appear before this Commission though duly served with notice and hence this Commission proceeded exparte against them. We have perused the written notes of argument and documents filed by the appellants on record of the appeal.
8. The learned Advocate of the appellants submitted that as admittedly the appellants are purchasers and respondent No.1 is seller of raw cotton, the respondent No.1 cannot be said to be a consumer as defined under section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act. Secondly, he submitted that there is no such law showing that the raw cotton should be purchased within certain period after it is brought to the cotton collection center by the agriculturist/ farmer. He also argued that there is no document showing that the Cotton Federation Minister made any statement in the Legislative Assembly about policy of Government and that in the absence of any document on record it cannot be said that the appellants are under obligation to weigh raw cotton within 48 hours of its bringing to cotton collection Center. He also submitted that the Forum below wrongly held that the raw cotton was not weighed and purchased within 48 hours of its bringing to the cotton collection center. He thus submitted that the impugned order is perverse and hence, it may be set aside.
9. We find that when the original complainant/respondent No.1 herein is not a purchaser but he is a seller of cotton and, he does not fall within the definition of Consumer given under section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act. Secondly, there is no agreement or contract in between the farmer and the appellants to bind the appellant to weigh & purchase raw cotton within 48 hours of its bringing to cotton collection centre. In the absence of any such agreement or contract, we find that it was not obligatory on the part of the appellants to purchase the cotton within any such period of 48 houRs.There is also no evidence to show that the respondent was made to wait for 11 days for wightment of his cotton and purchasing the same by app
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ellants. Under all these facts and circumstances, we hold that the impugned order cannot be sustained in the law and it can be also said that it is passed without jurisdiction. Hence, it is needs to be set aside. ORDER i. Appeal is allowed. ii. The impugned order dated 23/06/2003 passed in consumer complaint No. 05/2002 by the District Consumer Forum, Chandrapur is hereby set aside. iii. The complaint stands dismissed. iv. No order as to cost in appeal. v. The complainant/respondent No.1 is at liberty to move to appropriate Forum for seeking redressal of his grievance. vi. Copy of order be supplied to the parties.