At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. DINESH SINGH
By, PRESIDING MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE KARUNA NAND BAJPAYEE
For the Petitioners: Rohit Tomar, Proxy Advocate. For the Respondent: Nemo.
1. This revision petition has been filed under section 21(b) of the Act 1986 in challenge to the Order dated 20.07.2017 of the State Commission in appeal no. 3138 of 2016 arising out of the Order dated 31.05.2016 of the District Commission in complaint no. 371 of 2014.
2. The learned proxy counsel appearing for the courier company (the petitioner herein) requests for an adjournment, submitting that the learned counsel is not available today. It is seen that on the earlier date i.e. 11.09.2019 when the case was last listed before the bench adjournment had been sought on behalf of the courier company which had been strongly opposed on behalf of the complainant (the respondent herein), however adjournment was granted subject to the courier company depositing a sum of Rs.5,000/- within four weeks in this Commission’s Consumer Legal Aid Account. It is seen that the said cost, which on the face of it itself was reasonable, has not been deposited even till today. The learned proxy counsel requests for some more time to deposit the cost. It is but seen that the complaint was filed in 2014, the District Commission allowed it in 2016, the appeal was filed in 2016, the State Commission dismissed it in 2017, the revision petition before this Commission was filed in 2017, and we are now in 2022. We do not deem it appropriate to grant any further adjournment, moreso considering that the cost imposed while granting adjournment on the earlier occasion i.e. on 11.09.2019 has also not been deposited till today. On the other hand we deem it appropriate to decide and dispose of the revision petition on the basis of record. The request for adjournment is politely declined.
We have accordingly perused the record including inter alia the Order dated 31.05.2016 of the District Commission, the impugned Order dated 20.07.2017 of the State Commission and the petition.
3. The dispute relates to not delivering two consignments of surgical equipments together valuing Rs. 1,96,708/- sent by the complainant through the courier company to the consignee. The District Commission passed its Order on contest i.e. the courier company was present and its defence was taken into consideration. For reasons given the District Commission allowed the complaint and after determining that the consignments in question were actually booked by the complainant with the courier company, the consideration was actually paid and the consignments actually did not reach the consignee at all, it ordered the courier company to pay Rs.1,96,708/- to the complainant being the value of the consignments along with Rs.25,000/- as compensation within 30 days with the stipulation that if the payment was not made within the stipulated period the total amount will carry interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of default till realization. The State Commission found that sufficient cause to condone the delay of 118 days in filing the appeal was not forthcoming. It accordingly dismissed the application for condonation of delay, resultantly the appeal stood dismissed on limitation.
Here it is relevant that the Act 1986 is for the “better protection of the interests of the consumers”, its Statement of Objects & Reasons says of “speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes”. Section 15 stipulates a period of 30 days to file appeal. Section 19A lays down an ideal normative period of 90 days for disposing of an appeal after it is admitted. In this backdrop the appeal was filed with an abnormal delay of 118 days, over and beyond the stipulated period of 30 days.
A perusal of the State Commission’s impugned Order shows that it has dealt with the aspect of delay at some considerable length and for cogent reasons given it has found that sufficient cause to condone the delay was not at all forthcoming. We find that the State Commission has extensively examined the aspect of limitation and has passed a well-weighed and well-reasoned order in dismissing the appeal on limitation. We notice no jurisdictional error or material irregularity therein. We also notice no miscarriage of justice having been occasioned. Pertinently, before the forum of first instance i.e. the District Commission the courier company had offered its defence, it had been heard and its defence had been considered while deciding the complaint. Also, the award made by the District Commission on the face of it itself appears just and reasonable as the value of the consignments i.e. Rs. 1,96,708/- with reasonable compensation of Rs.25,000/- has been ordered to be paid within 30 days and the interest at the rate of 9% per annum thereon has been factored only in case of default in payment within the stipulated period.
We accordingly find no good ground to interfere with State Commission’s Order in the exercise of the revisional jurisdiction of this Commission.
4. The petition stands dismissed.
The amount if any deposited by the courier company with the District Commission in compliance of this Commission’s Order dated 12.10.2017 along with interest if any accrued thereon shall be forthwith released by the
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District Commission to the complainant as per the due procedure. The balance awarded amount shall be made good by the courier company within six weeks from today, failing which the District Commission shall undertake execution, for ‘enforcement’ and for ‘penalty’, as per the law. 5. The Registry is requested to send a copy each of this Order to the parties in the revision petition and to their learned counsel as well as to the District Commission immediately. The stenographer is also requested to upload this Order on the website of this Commission immediately.