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Mary Veronica, Sundarasruthilaya v/s Panikars Travels & Others

    F.A.No. 227 of 2012

    Decided On, 08 January 2015

    At, Tamil Nadu State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Chennai

    By, MEMBER

    For the Appellant: In person. For the Respondents: M/s. R.T.S. Kannan, R. Sathyanarayanan, R.S. Anandan, Advocates.

Judgment Text

(The appellant is the complainant filed a complaint before the District Forum against the opposite parties praying certain relief. The District Forum dismissed the complaint. Against the said order, the appellant / complainant filed this appeal praying for to setaside the order of the District Forum in CC.No.56/2011, dated 24.01.2012.

This appeal coming before us for hearing finally on 12.12.2014, upon hearing the arguments on either side, perusing the documents, lower court records, and the order passed by the District Forum, this commission made the following order.)

A.K. Annamalai, Presiding Judicial Member

The unsuccessful complainant is the appellant.

2. The complainant being the employee under the 3rd opposite party through the 1st and 2nd opposite parties availed Leave Travel Concession by arranging tour from Chennai to Port Blair and other places and while claiming LTC travel re-imbursement from the 3rd opposite party employer since a sum of Rs.7994/- was disallowed by the employer for disputed travel distance between Fort Blair and other places alleging unfair trade practice against the opposite parties in no furnishing required particulars regarding the distance by way of breakup figures , consumer complaint came to be filed claiming compensation of Rs.1,00,000/- from the opposite parties 1 and 2 and clarify the details of Kilometers mentioned in the bill to the satisfaction of the 3rd opposite party and to refund the excess amount, paid by the complainant and to pay Rs.25,000/- as costs.

3. The District Forum after hearing both sides and on the basis of the materials placed before it dismissed the complaint observing that there was no unfair trade practice by the opposite parties and no deficiency of service committed by them.

4. Aggrieved by the impugned order the complainant has come forward with this appeal contended that the District Forum erroneously dismissed the complaint as disputes between the employer and employee and relied upon II (2008) CPJ 285 wherein the employer’s failure to pay what is due to the employee by way of allowance, reimbursement etc is one which is mainly falls within the category amounting to deficiency of service and when once accepted the distance of 1168 kms stated by the 1st and 2nd opposite parties are found to be correct ought to have directed the 3rd opposite party having in not granting claim amount. Hence the appeal is to be allowed.

5. We have heard both sides arguments, contentions and carefully perused the materials in this regard. It is not in dispute that the complainant being the employer of the 3rd opposite party availed LTC tour from Chennai to Port Blair and Port Blair to Chennai by arranging tickets and travel through the opposite parties 1 and 2 since the tour operators / opposite parties 1 and 2 have not furnished the break up details of the distance relating to the places of travel in between the Port Blair and Digilpur and other places the 3rd opposite party reduced the quantum of Leave Travel concession amounts on the basis of audit report. Whereas the opposite parties 1 and 2 contended that since they have only arranged for tour, issued necessary receipts for the fair of Rs.14,692/- received they are not aware of the concession eligible from the employer and the break up details were also given as per request under Ex.A2, it is left over to the complainant and her employer to settle the core as per the rules. Admittedly the complainant had not filed any terms and conditions or regulations relating to the availing of LTC facilities for all the claims she is entitled and whereas the 3rd opposite party employer filed Ex.B1 relating to the LTC guidelines as per that required details furnished by the complainant were not filed before the Consumer Forum. Further the 3rd opposite party held that the 1st and 2nd opposite parties are not the approved travel agencies under the claim and for which under the guidelines it is mentioned as follows: 'In case of entire distance travelled by an unapproved travel agency Not permitted from within the division, if the division has approved travel agency. Subject to the requirements as explained under V (a) and V (b) in order, reimbursement will be restricted to the actual expenses (or) the fare by the eligible mode for appropriate class for the actual distance travelled and relating to the travel Andaman and Nickobar the reimbursement is restricted to the actual fare by the steamer by eligible class or officer eligible to travel by air the fare from Chennai to Port Blair airport is reimbursed in full. For travel in the island, specific placed mentioned is treated as local sightseeing and hence no reimbursement is allowed for travel from Port Blair to other island by steamer or reimbursement only on the production of tickets, the distance between the mainland and the islands as given below, for these places under Ex.A2 the 1st opposite party furnished E-mail details as required by the complainant. Hence there can be no grievance against the tourist operators and travel agency which findings by the District Forum we are in full agreement and it is left open for the complainant to satisfy the employer regarding the disallowed claim on the basis of furnishing necessary particulars required by them and no materials are placed before the District Forum or before this Commission for the same. In Ex.A1 letter of the employer specifically in para-4, 5 it is clearly mentioned that the complainant had claimed two blocks she is not eligible for the difference in amount in this case of clubbing the blocks and the distance from Port Blair to Diglipur is 185 kms and to Mayabundar is 139 kms and for these the 1st opposite party furnished the details under Ex.A2 as 640 km Diglipur by road and 520 for Mayabundar by road. So if it is restricted to 185 Kms and 139 kms by mode of steamer or other mode by the employer on the basis of guidelines under Ex.A7. The complainant had to agitate before the employer in this regard and in which we cannot allege any deficiency on the part of the 3rd opposite party. The complainant relied upon the rulings reported in the written arguments in para-8 & 9 ruling reported in II (2008) CPJ 285 in the case of Andhra Bank –vs- Ramakrishnan Reddy in which it is observed as follows :

'No payment of allowance to an employee is deficiency of service and an employee cannot be thrown out on the ground that the complaint is not a consumer under the Act. The 3rd respondent will have to reconsider the appellants claim if the details required by them are supplied by the 1st and 2nd opposite parties. Hence the lower court’s decision of throwing the case of the appellant as that between employer and employee in totally negative and baseless.

Similarly in state of Andhra Pradesh –vs- Noorullakhan reported in Supreme Court of India 2005 IMLJ 24 (SC) the court has stated as per sec.297.A(6) H travel agent licence shall be subject to the following:-

With annexure containing list of all members of hiring party giving particular in the following

1. Serial No:

2. Name of the member

3. Father / husband

4. Age

5. Full postal address

6. The nature of the common purpose of the journey

7. Period for which the vehicle is engaged by the hiring party

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/>8. Places to be visited by the hiring party 9. Place or places where the hiring party are to be picked or let down 10. Hire charges etc. These rulings are not applicable to this case by considering the facts and circumstances of the case since the complainant has not proved that she had acted as per the terms and conditions of the LTC guidelines in Ex.B1 and furnished details to the 1st opposite party and to get necessary information and details under the Motor Vehicles Acts as prescribed by them. In those circumstances we are of the view that the appeal is liable to be dismissed as devoid of merits and accordingly In the result, the appeal is dismissed by confirming the order of the District Forum in CC.No.56/2011, dated 24.01.2012. No order as to costs in the appeal.