MSK Jaiswal, President
Opposite parties in CC No.257 of 2013 on the file of District Consumer Forum-III, Hyderabad preferred this appeal feeling aggrieved by the orders dated 08.01.2014 directing the Opposite parties to jointly and severally pay the Complainant a sum of Rs. 50,000/- towards compensation and Rs. 2,000/- towards costs of the complaint granting time of (30) days for compliance.
2. For the sake of convenience, the parties are referred to as arrayed in the complaint.
3. The case of the Complainant, in brief, is that he approached Opposite party No.1 hospital complaining sustaining injury to his forehead on 15.12.2012 upon which, tetanus injection was administered by the duty doctor. Thereafter, he stated to have complained that the strength in his fingers is weak and his left hand is painful. The duty doctor asked him to consult neurologist, however, in order to avoid further aggravation, he was advised to admit in the hospital and undergo certain tests. On the following day, after subjecting him to x-ray and tests, the Orthopedic opined that he had a slight displacement of bone in his neck and advised to use neck collar to avoid further damage.
4. During his stay in the hospital, the staff failed to provide proper support to his neck and also failed to provide pillow and he was made to lay down on rock hard pillows. Next day, he was advised MRI for which he underwent at Lucid Diagnostic Centre as the said facility was not available with Opposite parties. The stretcher provided by the Opposite parties on which he was shifted was too small which also caused intolerable pain and made him to suffer agony for hours together. Later, after obtaining report, he was advised for surgery, which he postponed due to pain and accordingly he was discharged on 19.12.2012. During the above process, Complainant faced much ordeals apart from incurring expenditure. Hence, filed the present complaint claiming reimbursement of Rs. 64,000/- apart from compensation of Rs. 2,50,000/- and costs of Rs. 5,000/-.
5. Opposite parties, though served with notice, have failed to cause their appearance resulting which they were set ex-parte.
6. During the course of enquiry before the District Forum, in order to prove his case, the Complainant filed his affidavit evidence as PW1 and the documents Ex.A1 to A7.
7. The District Forum after considering the material available on record, allowed the complaint, as stated supra, at paragraph No.l.
8. Aggrieved by the above said orders, the Appellants/Opposite parties preferred the present appeal contending that the forum below failed to provide an opportunity to them and based its findings without there being an expert evidence. As the then Officer who was looking after the legal matters resigned from the job, they had no communication of the matter in dispute resulting in passing of orders uncontested. Hence, prayed to allow the appeal by setting aside the orders impugned.
9. The point that arises for consideration is whether the impugned order as passed by the District Forum suffers from any error or irregularity or whether it is liable to be set aside, modified or interfered with, in any manner? To what relief ?
10. Heard the learned counsel appearing for the Appellants/Opposite parties and perused the material on record and orders impugned in the appeal. The appeal is directed against the orders dated 08.01.2014 of the District Forum in CC No.257 of 2013, by and under which, the District Forum has awarded a sum of Rs. 50,000/- to the Respondent herein by way of compensation and costs of Rs. 2,000/- for the alleged mishandling of the Respondent/ Complainant during the course of treatment.
11. The learned counsel appearing for the Appellants/Opposite parties contend that the opportunity that is afforded to them in the District Forum could not be availed for the reasons beyond their control whereby the matter came to be disposed of in absentia and even without their written version being placed on record. Therefore, the learned counsel submits that if an opportunity is afforded to them, they will appear before the District Forum and put forward their case and the District Forum can adjudicate the controversy after appreciating the rival contentions.
12. Having heard the submissions and perused the material on record, we are of the opinion that the interest of justice demands that an opportunity should be afforded to the Appellants/Opposite parties to contest the matter to get the complaint disposed of on merits rather than suffering the order ex-parte. However, the interest of justice further demands that the Respondent/ Complainant who appears to be aged about 65 years needs to be compensated for the delay which can be quantified at Rs. 35,000/-.
13. In the result, the appeal is allowed and the matter is remanded to the District Forum for fresh adjudication after affording an opportunity to the Appellants/Opposite parties to f
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ile their written version and contest the consumer complaint subject to condition that the Appellants/Opposite parties shall remit a sum of Rs. 35,000/- (Rupees thirty five thousands only) to the Respondent/Complainant within one month from today, by way of costs directly and to file acknowledgement thereof. If the amount is not paid, the appeal shall stands dismissed confirming the orders impugned. On proof being shown, the District Consumer Forum shall restore the consumer complaint to its original number and proceed to dispose it of in accordance with law.