At, Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Thiruvananthapuram
By, THE HONOURBALE MR. JUSTICE P.Q. BARKATHALI
By, PRESIDENT & THE HONOURABLE MR. V.V. JOSE
For the Appellant: V. Vinay Menon, Advocate. For the Respondents: Shihabudeen Kariyath, Advocate.
P.Q. Barkath Ali: President
This is an appeal filed by the complainant in OP 481/2004 on the file of CDRF, Thrissur challenging the order of the Forum dated 21st February, 2012.
2. Case of the complainant as testified by him as PW1 before the Forum and as detailed in the complaint in brief is this: Complainant is conducting an SSI Unit for lathe works, welding etc. He has an electric connection with consumer no.1/23482. The respondents issued an arrear of bill of electricity amounting of Rs.60,000/- to be remitted before 25/08/2003. Complainant paid that amount under protest. The respondent then again asked the complainant to pay Rs. 22,941/- which was also remitted by him under protest. Thereafter the opposite parties disconnected the electric connection. They again demanded a further sum of Rs.37,000/-. This is an illegal action and it amounts to deficiency in service. Therefore complainant filed the complaint to cancel that bill.
3. Opposite parties are Electricity Department of Thrissur Corporation. They in their version contended thus; The complainant is not a consumer as defined under the Consumer Protection Act as it is an industrial connection. Complainant did not pay any amount for the period from 31/7/2000 to 31/7/2003. Therefore on his request in July 2003 he was allowed to pay in instalments. Complainant paid Rs.60,000/- on 25/8/2003 and defaulted the further instalments. The complainant then remited Rs.70,394/- and requested for reconnection. As the total amount was not paid reconnection could not be granted. Now there is an arrears of Rs.67,781/-.
4. Complainant was examined as PW1. Exts. P1 to P5 were marked on his side and Ext. R1 was marked on the side of opposite parties. On an appreciation of evidence the Forum found that complainant is not a consurned as defined under section 2(1)(d)(ii) of the Consumer Protection Act and dismissed the complaint. Complainant filed this appeal challenging the said order of the Forum.
5. Heard both counsels.
6. The following points for consideration;
1. Whether the complainant is a consumer as defined section 2(1)(d)(ii) of the Consumer Protection Act?
2. Whether the impugned order of the Forum can be sustained?7. The Forum found that the electricity connection of the complainant is a commercial connection, that he is earning profit using electricity and that therefore he cannot be considered as a consumer as defined under section 2(1)(d)(ii) of Consumer Protection Act. For the following reasons we are of the view that the above finding of the Forum cannot be sustained. Complainant has testified as PW1 before the Forum that he was conducting a small SSI unit and earning his livelihood by means of self employment, and that there were only 2 workers in his firm. The explanation to Section 2(1)(d)(ii) of the Act clearly mentions that services availed by a person exclusive for the purpose of his livelihood by means of self employment is a consumer under the Act. In the present case the complainant is conducting the SSI Unit for his livelihood by means of employment, therefore he is a consumer as defined under Section 2(1)d(ii) of Consumer Protection Act. It follows that the impugned order of the Forum dismissing the complaint cannot be sustained.
8. There is another aspect in this matter. The Forum has not considered any other point. Therefore the matter has to be remanded to the Forum for considering other contentions rais
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ed by both parties. In the result, appeal is allowed. Impugned order of the Forum dismissing the complaint is set aside. Complaint is found maintainable, as the complainant is a consumer defined 2(1)d(ii) of Consumer Protection Act. The matter is remanded to the Forum for considering other contentions raised by both parties. They shall appear before the Forum on 15/07/2014.