At, Andhra Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Hyderabad
By, HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE D. APPA RAO
By, PRESIDENT & MR. R. LAKSHMINARSIMHA RAO
For the Appellants : M/s. Valluri Mohan Krishna, Advocate. For the Respondents : Sk.Nagur Saheb)-R1, Advocate, R2-served by publication.
Oral Order: (Per Sri R.Lakshminarasimha Rao, Hon’ble Member).
1. Feeling aggrieved by the order of the District Forum, the Opposite Parties 2 to 4 filed the appeal contending that the complaint is not maintainable since the consignment note does not contain the Complainant’s name as the consignee and that the complainant is not a consumer as also that the Complainant has not established the loss it had suffered due to the damage of 86 bottles of syrup viz., SGZYME.
2. The opposite Parties 2 to 4 are the Appellants. For the sake of convenience, the parties are referred to as they have been arrayed in the complaint.
3. The complainant entered into an agreement on 14-12-2006 with the opposite parties and in pursuance of the terms of the agreement placed an order for manufacture and supply of the 2560 bottles of SGZYME Syrup. The First Opposite Party packaged 2560 bottles of the Syrup in 86 card board packages and consigned them on 31-05-2007 to the 3rd opposite party at Dehradoon for its transportation to Visakhapatnam. The consignment was to be delivered to the Complainant through the 4th opposite party. A tax invoice bearing No.19 dated 31-05-2007 for Rs.44,450/- was issued by the 1st opposite party. On 21-06-2007, the 4th opposite party informed the Complainant about the arrival of the Consignment and requested it to pay freight charges of Rs.5,200/-. On 26-06-2007, the Complainant had found that there was leakage of Syrup from the 86 packages. The packages along with bottles were photographed and a Compact Disc(CD) was pressed into service for recording proceedings. The 4th opposite party demanded demurrage charges from the Complainant. The complainant addressed letter dated 01-10-2007 to the 2nd opposite party with a request to waive the demurrage charges and issued instructions to the 4th opposite party to deliver the consignment and issue a certificate to the effect that the bottles were damaged. The Complainant got issued notice on 29-10-2007, claiming Rs.1,40,800/- from the opposite parties 1 to 4. The 2nd opposite party had given a reply denying any negligence on their part.
4. The 1st Opposite Party contended that it is not a necessary party to the proceedings and the complaint is bad for misjoinder of the parties, as also there was no deficiency of service on its part. It is contended that the District Forum has no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint against the 1st Opposite Party as it has no Branch Office at Visakhapatnam.
5. The 4th Opposite Party resisted the claim contending that the consignment was entrusted to the 3rd opposite party at the Dehradun for its transportation to Visakhapatnam and there was no deficiency of service on its part. The complainant ought to have proceeded against the 1st opposite party alone. The 4th opposite party requested the Complainant to take delivery of the consignment on payment of demurrage charges.
6. The proprietor of the complainant Firm V.V.S.S.Satyanarayana has filed his affidavit and the documents Exhibits A-1 to A-31. A CD was marked as MO-1. No documents have been filed on the side of the Opposite Parties.
7. The District Forum has allowed the complaint and awarded an amount of Rs.44,550/- with interest @ 12% p.a., besides a sum of Rs.5,000/- towards compensation. The District Forum has dismissed the complaint against the OP No.1
8. The Point for consideration is whether the Opposite Parties 2 to 4 are liable to pay the amount claimed by the Complainant.?
9. The learned counsel for the opposite parties 2 to 4 has contended that the complaint is not maintainable since the consignment note does not contain the Complainant’s name as the consignee. It is true in the column 'Name and Address of the Consignee' it is mentioned 'Self' 'A/c of M/s SAINT GUARDIAN HEALTH CARE, VISAKHAPATNAM'. Though the words Self have been mentioned in the column, consignee address, the name of the complainant’s firm and the consignment to be sent to the account of the Complainant’s firm would amply establish the status of the Complainant as consignee and once the Complainant fits into definition of a consignee, no challenge to the Complainants claim can be made on the aspect of its status as the consignee.
10. It is not disputed that the 1st opposite party had consigned 86 card board packages contained in 2560bottles of SGZYME Syrup on 31-05-2007 to the Opposite Party No.3 who in turn had to deliver the consignment to the Complainant through its Branch Office at Visakhapatnam. The complainant had received the consignment from the OP No.4 and the Complainant has raised objections as to the condition of the bottles of which according to the Complainant, there was leakage of Syrup from 86 bottles.
11. A perusal of the letters dated 4-9-2007 addressed to the 4th opposite party and the letter dated 01-10-2007 addressed to the 2nd opposite party discloses that the Complainant requested for waiver of demurrage charges and for release of the consignment which had not evoked any response from the opposite parties 2 to 4.
12. The opposite parties 2 to 4 have not disputed the factum of damage of the 86 bottles of syrup. The complainant has got issued notice through its Advocate, claiming a sum of Rs.1,40,000/- towards loss of money and an amount of Rs.20,000/- for the los of business and the Opposite Party No.2 had given reply admitting the instructions of consignment to the 3rd opposite party and arrival of the consignment at Visakhapatnam, where the 4th opposite party had been carrying on its business. It is stated in the reply that much time after the consignment was received by the 4th opposite party, the complainant had approached it to receive the consignment and for the delay caused in the Complaint the 4th opposite party to receive the consignment, the complainant was fastened with the liability to pay demurrage charges along with freight charges.
13. The complainant expressed its readiness to pay freight charges and refused to pay demurrage charges. The complainant has claimed that it is on account of negligence of the Opposite Parties 2 to 4, there was leak
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age of bottles of syrup from the 86 bottles and it has earnestly addressed letters to the opposite parties 2 and 4 to waive the demurrages charges and release the consignment. In view of the damages caused to 86 bottles, the Complainant has to incur a sum of Rs.46,550/- towards value of the Syrup bottles as evidenced by the invoice dated 31-05-2007. The Complainant in our view is entitled to the amount from the opposite parties 2 to 4. We did not find any reason to interfere with findings recorded by the District Forum as there are no merits in the appeal. 14. In the result, the appeal is dismissed confirming the order of the District Forum. There shall be no order as to costs.