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Hyderabad Catering Services A regd. Partnership firm rep. by its partner Sri Subhashchander v/s The Managing Director, M/s Bakelite Hylam Ltd.

    F.A.No.1892 OF 2005 AGAINST C.D.NO.374 OF 1998 DISTRICT CONSUMER FORUM-I HYDERABAD

    Decided On, 02 July 2009

    At, Andhra Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Hyderabad

    By, SRI SYED ABDHULLAH
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER & SRI R. LAKSHMINARSIMHA RAO
    By, MEMBER

    Counsel for the Appellant: Sri K.K. WAghray. Counsel for the Respondent: Sri S. Balachander



Judgment Text

Oral Order ( As per R. Lakshminarsimha Rao, Member)


The appellant has preferred this appeal being aggrieved by dismissal of its complaint in C.D.No.374 of 1998 by the District Forum-I, Hyderabad.


The factual matrix of the case is that the appellant, a registered partnership firm dealing in the business of providing catering services. The respondent company invited quotations for arrangement of Mahakana (Lunch) on 9.3.1997 at Pingali Venkatarama Reddy Hall for 1250 persons. The quotation of the appellant was accepted by the respondent on 28.2.2007. The rate per person is Rs.175/- for non-veg and Rs.75/- for vegetarian with sales tax at 7.5%. The respondent company agreed to bear the expenses for hiring of the hall, fans, DG set, Dias, Carpet, Shamiana and side walls etc., and paid Rs.one lakh towards advance to the appellant. The respondent company agreed to pay the balance amount after the function is over. The appellant submitted bill dated 11.3.1997 for Rs.2,24,406.25 and after adjusting the amount of Rs.one lakh, another bill dated 16.3.1997 for Rs.9666/- was issued in addition to the bill amount of Rs.1,24,406.25. Therefore a total amount of Rs.1,57,530.25 was due to the appellant out of which the respondent paid Rs.70,000/- on 30.3.1997. An outstanding balance amount of Rs.87,530.25 was to be paid by the respondent company to the appellant. On failure of respondent company to pay the said amount, the appellant filed the complaint before the District Forum.


The respondent resisted the claim. It was contended that the complaint is not maintainable. The appellant is not a consumer. The claim is based on the contract. The contractual obligations cannot be decided by the District Forum. The appellant had not supplied high quality food as undertaken by them. On 30.3.1997 it was mutually agreed that Rs.70,000/- has to be paid by the respondent company and the settlement was a final settlement. Letter dated 30.3.1997 issued by the General Secretary of the respondent company Employees Union is prearranged and the respondent company is not bound by what was stated in the letter. Letter dated 11.3.1997 is contrary to the instructions issued earlier. The person, B.S.SEthi who issued letter dated 11.3.1997 was removed from the service for violating the orders of his superior officers.


Basing on the evidence adduced before it, the District Forum dismissed the complaint.


The points for consideration are:


1) Whether the appellant is a consumer?


2) Whether the appellant is entitled to any relief?


3) To what relief?


POINTS NO.1 & 2: Admittedly, the appellant is a partnership firm carrying on the business of providing catering services. The quotations submitted for arrangement of meals submitted by the appellant was accepted by th respondent ocmapny and accordingly on 9.3.1997 the appellant arranged lunch. The parties agreed to the amount of Rs.2,24,406.25 out of which an amount of Rs.one lakh was paid by the respondent company to the appellant in advance. The respondent company was due a sum of Rs.1,57,530.25. The respondent contends that there was a settlement between them and the appellant for a sum of Rs.70,000/- and as per the terms of the settlement,t he appellant received a sum of Rs.70,000/- from the respondent company. The appellant relies upon letters dated 30.3.1997 and 11.3.1997 stated to have been written by the General Secretary of Employees Union of the respondent company and Col.B.S.Sethi, the latter was removed from the service for violating the orders of his superior officers.


The appellant firm being a partnership firm and carrying on the business of catering services cannot be a consumer as defined under section 2(1)(d) of the C.P.Act.


Section 2(1)(d) of the C.P.Act reads as under:


(d) "consumer" means any person who?


(i) buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment when such use is made with the approval of such person, but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose; or


(ii) hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who 'hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person but does not include a person who avails of such services for any commercial purposes;


Explanation.? For the purposes of this clause, ?commercial purpose? does not include use by a person of goods bought and used by him and services availed by him exclusively for the purposes of earning his livelihood by means of self-employment;


The appellant firm rendered its service to the respondent company and for the service rendered, the appellant firm has been claiming the amount from the respondent company. The respondent company having availed the service of the appellant firm he can be said to be a consumer within the meaning of Sec.2(1)(d) of the C.P.Act. The service provi

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der and the seller of the goods cannot be brought under the umbrella of Sec.2(1)(d) of the C.P.Act. When the complaint filed by the appellant firm is not maintainable, the question of going into the details of the amount due from one party to other does not arise. In the circumstances, we do not find any merit in the appeal. However, we extend the benefit of Section 14 of the Limitation Act to the appellant. The appellant firm can avail the benefit if it desires so. In the circumstances the appeal fails and is liable to be dismissed. In the result the appeal is dismissed with the above observations. No costs.
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