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Chief Post Master, Tehsil & District-Balaghat (M.P.) v/s Vimal Bothra


Company & Directors' Information:- M C BOTHRA & COMPANY PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U17222WB1989PTC047676

Company & Directors' Information:- VIMAL INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U24231DL1999PTC099648

Company & Directors' Information:- MASTER INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51100DL2014PTC269835

    Appeal No. 511 of 2017

    Decided On, 04 October 2018

    At, Madya Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Bhopal

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE S.D. AGARWAL
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE DR. (MRS.) MONIKA MALIK
    By, MEMBER

    For the Appellant: Rajeev Jain, Learned Counsel. For the Respondent: None.



Judgment Text

S.D. Agarwal, Member

1. This appeal has been preferred by the opposite party/appellant under Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against the order dated 22.02.2017 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Balaghat (For short ‘Forum’) in C.C.No.48/2016 by which the complaint filed by the complainant/respondent has been partly allowed and the opposite party/appellant has been directed to pay Rs.1000/- to the complainant/respondent as compensation for the loss of parcel along with compensation of Rs.1000/- towards mental agonoy and Rs.2000/- costs of litigation.

2. Brief facts, as narrated by the complainant/respondent before the Forum are that the complainant for earning his livelihood by means of self-employment runs a shop namely Vardhman Sari Bhandar. As per complainant, in the month of February-2016, he ordered for delivery of some embroidery material from Jaipur. Some of the material received by him being substandard costing Rs.12,000/- was returned to the sender (Shri Ram Design, Third Floor, Kanota Market, Near Siddhi Vinayak Complex, Haldia Ka Rasta, Johar Bazar, Jaipur) by registered parcel on 04.03.2016. As the material did not reach its destination for two months, therefore, the complainant approached the Post Office at Balaghat to know about the parcel sent by him. The post office enquired the matter and informed the complainant that the parcel was lost somewhere in transit. Alleging deficiency in service on the part of the opposite party/appellant, the complainant/respondent filed a complaint before the District Forum claiming Rs.12,000/- as cost of the contents of parcel along with compensation Rs.15,000/- and costs Rs.5000/- with interest.

3. The opposite party /appellant refuted the allegations by filing written statement and averred that the complainant runs his business for commercial purposes, therefore, the transaction being commercial one cannot be termed as a consumer case and the complainant cannot be termed as a ‘consumer’. It is also submitted in the written statement that on 05.05.2016, the complainant was duly informed about the loss of the article. It is also averred in the written statement that the parcel was not deliberately lost, therefore the complainant can only be compensated to the tune of Rs.100/- only. As the article sent by the complainant was not insured, therefore, no compensation can be allowed.

4. The District Forum after considering the evidence adduced by the parties and arguments of learned counsels for parties, arrived at the conclusion, that since the registered parcel was lost in transit, therefore there is deficiency in service on the part of the opposite party/appellant. The District Forum placing reliance on the decision of Himachal Pradesh State Commission in Senior Superintendent of Post Office, Mandi Vs Hemant Kumar Gupta II (2015) CPJ 135 (HP) allowed the complaint with direction to opposite party to pay Rs.1000/- towards cost of lost parcel within a period of one month and in case of failure so to do also to pay interest @ 9% p.a. from the date of order till payment. Rs.1000/- towards compensation for mental agony and Rs.2000/- as costs of litigation has also been awarded.

5. Against the impugned order of the Forum, the opposite party/appellant has filed this appeal that the complainant is doing business and the alleged transaction was of commercial in nature, therefore, the complainant is not a consumer. Since the parcel lost in transit and there was no malafide intention proved on the part of appellant, therefore, no compensation can be awarded.

6. We have heard learned counsel for appellant and perused the record carefully. None appeared for respondent though served and despite intimation through SPC.

7. Learned counsel for appellant reiterated in his arguments what has been cited in the appeal memo. He argued that the registered parcel was not insured, therefore the maximum compensation in case of loss of article, Rs.100/- can only be awarded. He placing reliance on the Section 6 of the Indian Post Office Act, 1898 argued that no officer of the Post Office shall incur any liability by reason of any such loss, misdelivery, delay or damage, unless he has caused the same fraudulently or by his willful act or default. He also placed reliance on the decision of the National Commission in Post Master, Imphal Vs Jamini Devi Sagolband (2000) NCJ 142.

8. We have seen the record of the Forum and considered the arguments of learned counsel for appellant. The contention of learned counsel for appellant cannot be accepted that the complainant had sent the postal article for commercial purpose as the cost of the contents in the parcel was only of Rs.12,000/- and on this basis, the complainant cannot be said to be a big business man or transaction was for commercial purpose. Though, the appellant post office tried to search the article, lost in transit, but this alone does not absolve them from liability which caused loss of Rs.12,000/- to the complainant. The appellant post office cannot claim benefit of the said section 6 of the Post Office Act in case of loss of article in a routine way. As the ap

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pellant has failed to cite any evidence that there was not any carelessness on their part, and no satisfactory justification for loss of article has been given by the appellant. Therefore, we do not agree with the arguments of the learned counsel for the appellant. 9. The District Forum has awarded a very meagre amount towards the loss caused to the complainant/respondent. Thus, we do not find any infirmity or illegality in the order passed by the District Forum. The appeal being devoid of merit is dismissed. The order of the Forum is upheld. No order as to costs.
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