Oral Order: (Patil Vithal Rao, Member)
The Appellant herein is the complainant and the Respondents are opposite parties in C.C.no.868/2011 on the file of the District Consumer Forum-II, Hyderabad (for short, 'the District Forum'). The parties will be referred to as they were arrayed before the District Forum.
2. The Appellant along with 10 others had a spiritual trip of Ganga Puskaralu and visited the holy places like Kasi, Gaya, Prayaga, Haridwar etc., in the month of July-2011 by availing the services of the Respondents travel agency by making payment of Rs.6,000/-per head, in total Rs.66,000/-. His grievance is that on 17.05.2011 he and his colleague pilgrims missed Doon Express train at 4.25 p.m., at Varanasi Railway Station to go to Gaya on account of the failure on the part of the opposite party in timely arranging conveyance resulting in mental agony, harassment and monetary loss. His further complaint is that they had to shell down Rs.7,000/-for the said journey on the false promises of one Srikanth, an Agent of the opposite party to the effect that he would get refunded the said amount on their reaching back to Hyderabad after the pilgrimage. The complainant has alleged that on their return to Hyderabad when he approached the opposite party, they did not refund the said amount of Rs.7,000/- and even ignored his legal notice dated 09.07.2011. He has also alleged that at Alahabad, the opposite party did not arrange proper accommodation, meals and transport to the said travelers causing a loss of Rs.950/-. On these counts he filed C.C.no.868/2011 claiming a sum of Rs.7,950/- [7,000/- + 950/-] with compensation of Rs.1,00,000/- and costs.
3. The defence set up by the opposite party, in a nutshell, is that though the complainant and his teammates reached the Railway Station in time, they could not board the train on account of their own fault but not any mistake on the part of the opposite party and that they did not appoint any representative by name Srikanth who allegedly cheated them. Their further defence is that inorder to help the complainant and his teammates, they arranged transport sympathetically to reach comfortably to Gaya from Varanasi and as such their schedule was not disturbed. Thus, there was no deficiency in service on their part.
4. After due enquiry into the matter the learned District Forum held that there was contributory negligence on the part of both the parties in their communication with regard to the terms and conditions of the travel and as such directed to bear the loss of Rs.7,000/- equally. By the impugned order dated 08.07.2013 the District Forum directed the opposite party to pay a sum of Rs.3,500/- towards expenses incurred for travelling and also cost of Rs.1,000/-. Aggrieved by the said order the complainant has preferred the present appeal under Section 15 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
5. The contention of the Appellant / Complainant, in brief, is that the District Forum did not appreciate the evidence placed on record properly and failed to see the depth of agony and harassment underwent by the complaint and his teammates and that passed the order which is contrary to law and against the principles of natural justice and that as such the same is liable to be set aside by allowing the present appeal.
6. Perused the written arguments of the parties and heard both the learned counsel.
7. Now the point for consideration is that:
Whether the impugned order is erroneous and illegal both on facts and under law and that as such liable to be set aside?
8. Point:- The conducting of the pilgrimage by the complainant along with his 10 other villagers through the agency of the opposite party by making payment of Rs.66,000/- is not in dispute. The only dispute is with regard to the cause in missing the train at Varanasi Railway Station to go to Gaya. The parties have been attributing negligence to each other for it. In this regard, the Boucher under Ex.A1 of the opposite party is silent about the details of the terms and conditions of the journey. The opposite party did not dispute about their liability to provide transport from the lodge to the Railway Station at Varanasi, the Temple town. The complainant’s case is that as there was delay in providing the transport, he and his other colleague pilgrims missed the train. Per contra, the opposite party blames them attributing negligence on their part in catching the train having reached the Railway Station in time. In this regard it is to be noted that the complainant did not file any evidence affidavit of his teammates to substantiate his claim. There is also no record to show that the opposite party had engaged services of one Mr. Srikanth to extend help to the pilgrims. However, they have stated in their written arguments that they arranged the facility through some other agency to transport them from Varanasi to Gaya at a very nominal cost. They did not dispute the said cost of Rs.7,000/- for the said distance of 280 Kms., as contended by the complainant. In the given set of facts and circumstances, the learned District Forum has come to be conclusion, in our opinion rightly, that there was some communication gap between the parties which resulted in missing of the train. Be that as it may, all the pilgrims, including the complainant, reached Gaya at a cost of Rs.7,000/- i.e., Rs.637/- approximately, per head. The District Forum has granted the travel expenses of Rs.3,500/-, on the basis of contributory negligence of the parties, to the complainant which is certainly far exceeding than the said cost of travelling i.e., Rs.637/-, to the share of the complainant. The District Forum has also awarded a compensation of Rs.1,000/- towards costs of the litigation. The opposite party did not prefer any appeal against the said quantum of award. It is further to be noted that though the complainant has alleged that he and his other teammates had to incur an additional expenditure of Rs.950/- at Allahabad on account of lapses on the part of the opposite party in providing proper accommodation, meals and transport, he did not adduce
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any evidence in this regard, atleast, by way of evidence affidavits of his colleagues. Therefore, in our opinion, the District Forum was right in refusing this part of claim. 9. We have given a careful consideration to the impugned order and found that the conclusions arrived at by the District Forum are based on sound and convincing reasoning and that as such the same needs no interference. In this view of the matter we hold that the appeal is devoid of any merits and that as such liable to be dismissed. 10. The point is answered accordingly against the Appellant. 11. In the result, the appeal is dismissed but in the circumstances without costs.