SHRI. M.V. VISWANATHAN JUDICIAL MEMBER
The above appeal is directed against the order dated 8th August 2006 of the CDRF, Kollam in OP No. 534/2003. The above complaint in OP No. 534/2003 was filed by the appellants herein as complainants against the respondents as opposite parties to get a compensation of Rs. 20,400/- for the illegal disconnection of supply of electrical energy and also to cancel the demand for Rs. 17,277/- towards the cost of the energy meter which was damaged and also to cancel the demand for Rs. 30,000/- towards additional cash deposit and also for further compensation of Rs. 10,000/- for mental agony and pain suffered by the complainant. The opposite parties entered appearance in the said complaint and filed their written version denying the alleged deficiency of service. They contended that the demand for Rs. 17,277/- was made for the damage caused to the energy meter installed at the premises of the complainant and that the power supply was disconnected because of the failure of the complainants to remit the demand for Rs. 17,277/-. It was further contended that the complainants were legally bound to remit the additional cash deposit of Rs. 30,000/- and the said claim was also legally sustainable. The collection of Rs. 5,625/- was for the unauthorized additional load connected by the complainants. Thus, the opposite parties prayed for dismissal of the complaint in OP No. 534/2003.
2. Before the Forum below, on the side of the complainants a witness was examined as PW1 and Exts. P1 to P17 documents were also marked. From the side of the opposite parties the Assistant Executive Engineer of the KSEB, Kottiyam was examined as DW1 and Exts. D1 to D9 documents were also marked. On an appreciation of the evidence on record, the Forum below passed the impugned order dismissing the complaint in OP No. 534/2003. Hence the present appeal by the complainants therein.
3. We heard both sides.
4. The learned Counsel for the appellants submitted arguments based on the grounds urged in the memorandum of the present appeal and requested for setting aside the impugned order passed by the Forum below and to allow the complaint in OP No. 534/2003. On the other hand, the learned Counsel for the respondents/opposite parties supported the impugned order passed by the Forum below and thereby requested for dismissal of the present appeal.
5. There is no dispute that the appellants/complainants had been running a small-scale industrial unit with consumer No. 13842. The appellants? industrial unit is functioning in the industrial estate at Umayanalloor and the said connection was in existence from the year 1995 onwards. The electric connection was provided with mechanical energy meter and the same was substituted by a new electronic meter. The new electronic meter was installed on 17-10-2003. The complainants noticed the optical port seal of the meter as broken and the matter was informed the opposite parties on 21-11-2003. The second opposite party conducted inspection of the energy meter on 24-11-2003 and prepared a mahazar stating that the optical port seal of the meter is broken. Ext.D1 is the mahazar/site plan prepared at the instance of the Assistant Executive Engineer who has been examined as DW1. The inspection of the energy meter and preparation of D1 mahazar are not disputed by the complainants. The evidence of DW1, the then Assistant Executive Engineer, Electrical Major Section, Kottayam, KSEB would establish the damage caused to the energy meter. Admittedly, the new energy meter was installed on 17-10-2003 and the damage to the said meter was noticed by the complainants on 21-11-2003. This would show that at the time of installation of the energy meter on 17-10-2003 there was no such damage to the energy meter. This circumstance would give an indication that some external force was applied on the said energy meter and it resulted in the damage to the energy meter.
6. The case of the complainants (appellants) is that the complainant/consumer did not touch the energy meter and the damage to the meter occurred due to the fault on the part of the employees of KSEB. But, the said case of the complainants could not be accepted without any supporting documents. Had there been any such damage to the energy meter that fact should have been noticed by the complainants. It is too much to say that the complainants did not notice such damage at the time of installation but; they could notice the damage only on 21-11-2003. It is to be noted that the officials of KSEB could not replace the old meter with a new electronic meter without the knowledge of the complainants. Had there been any such defect in the said energy meter, which was replaced on 17-10-2003 that could have been noticed by the complainants. So, the detection of the damage on 21-11-2003 would make the complainants answerable for the said damage to the newly installed energy meter.
7. There can be no doubt about the fact that the consumer is bound to keep the energy meter and other installations in a safe condition. If anything wrong happened to the energy meter or the other apparatus or installation, then the consumer is bound to make good the loss to KSEB. The materials available on record would make it clear that the damage to the energy meter was caused at the instance of the complainants and thereby the complainants are answerable to make good the damages sustained by KSEB.
8. The opposite party KSEB issued D2 demand notice directing the complainants to remit an amount of Rs. 17,277/- towards the cost of damages sustained to the KSEB. The aforesaid notice is dated 24-11-2003 and as per the said notice the complainant/consumer was directed to remit the said amount on or before 26-11-2003. Ext.D3 calculation statement would also show that the said amount was demanded towards the cost of static meter including labour charges. The complainants being the consumer of the electric connection is liable to pay the cost of damage sustained by KSEB. So, the demand for Rs. 17,277/- made by the opposite parties can be upheld.
9. DW1 has categorically deposed that the optical port seal of the meter was damaged and optical port seal is an important part of the energy meter. DW1 has also deposed that the said energy meter became useless and the same cannot be used. DW1 was not questioned about the damages of Rs.17,277/- claimed by D2 demand notice. No suggestion was put to DW1 as to whether the damaged energy meter can be repaired. So, the case of the appellants/complainants that the damaged energy meter can be repaired cannot be accepted. Moreover, the said claim for Rs. 17,277/- was made towards the damages sustained by the KSEB. D3 calculation statement would show that the said amount would take in the cost of the static meter plus labour charges. So, the aforesaid claim for Rs. 17,277/- is to be upheld. Hence we do so. If that be so, the Forum below has rightly justified the action of the opposite parties in issuing D2 demand for Rs. 17,277/-.
10. Admittedly, the appellants/complainants failed to remit the said sum of Rs. 17,277/- within the stipulated time. So, the opposite parties are justified in disconnecting the supply on 27-11-2003. It is further to be noted that the electric supply connection was restored on 28-11-2003 as and when the first instalment towards that amount was remitted by the complainants. It is further to be noted that the complainants moved the Chief Engineer, Kollam by preferring a complaint against issuance of D2 demand notice and that the Chief Engineer KSEB Kollam permitted the complainants to remit the said amount in 5 monthly instalments and the first instalment of Rs. 3,477/- was remitted by P4 receipt dated 28-11-2003. Immediately thereafter, on the same day the electricity supply connection was restored. There was no deficiency of service on the part of the opposite parties in disconnecting the supply of electricity because of the failure on the part of the complainants to remit the amount covered by D2 demand notice. If that be so, the claim for Rs. 20,400/- by way of loss of profit due to disconnection of electricity supply cannot be allowed and that the Forum below rightly disallowed the said claim for Rs. 20,400/-.
11. Respondents/opposite parties issued P6 demand notice for Rs. 30,000/- towards the additional cash deposit. The Assistant Executive Engineer as DW1 has also spoken to about the issuance of the aforesaid demand notice for remittance of additional cash deposit of Rs. 30,000/-. She has categorically explained the reason for demanding additional cash deposit of Rs. 30,000/-. The evidence of DW1 on that aspect is supported by documentary evidence. The case of the complainants (appellants) that they had remitted a sum of Rs. 30,000/- by way of additional cash deposit on an earlier occasion cannot be believed or accepted. There is no document forthcoming from the side of the complainants to substantiate their case regarding remittance of Rs. 30,000/- on earlier occasion. On the other hand, Ext.D9 copy of the personal deposit register would make it clear that total of Rs. 6,100/- was remitted by the complainants towards the cash deposit. So, the claim for Rs. 30,000/- by way of additional cash deposit is perfectly justified. If that be so, the Forum below has rightly disallowed the prayer for cancellation of the aforesaid demand for Rs. 30,000/-. We do not find any ground to interferer with the aforesaid finding made by the Forum below.
12. DW1 has also deposed about the unauthorized additional load of 25 KW from March 2003 to July 2003. She has also deposed about the failure on the part of the complainants to submit the completion report. Admittedly the complainants submitted the wiring completion report only on 27-06-2003. Thus, the unauthorized additional load has been established. If that be so, the opposite parties are justified in demanding and collecting the penalty for unauthorized additional load of 25 KW. The request made by the complainants to get the said amount of Rs. 5,625/- reimbursed cannot be allowed. The Forum h
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as rightly disallowed the aforesaid claim for refund of Rs. 5,625/-. 13. The Forum below has rightly appreciated the evidence available on record. The impugned order was passed on the basis of evidence available on record and after fully perusing the evidence on record. The complainants could not substantiate their case regarding alleged deficiency of service on the part of the opposite parties. On the other hand, the materials on record would show that the opposite parties had only acted in accordance with law. They issued demand notices to the complainants as provided under the Indian Electricity Act and Conditions of Supply of electrical energy. The Forum below has rightly accepted the case of the respondents/opposite parties and held that there was no deficiency of service on the part of the opposite parties. Thus, the impugned order passed by the Forum below is to be upheld. Hence we do so. The present appeal deserves dismissal. In the result, the appeal is dismissed. The order dated 8th August, 2006 passed by CDRF, Kollam in OP No. 534/2003 is confirmed. There will be no order as to costs.