At, Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Chandigarh
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE A.L. BAHRI
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JASBIR SINGH & THE HONOURABLE MRS. D.K. BHAMRAH
For the Appellant: Radhika Suri, Advocate. For the Respondent: Balram Shakti, Advocate.
A.L. Bahri, President.
1. The present appeal is by M/s. Max Page challenging order of the District Forum, Jalandhar dated June 3, 1997 directing the appellant to pay compensation of Rs. 5,000/- and cost of Rs. 1,000/- to the complainant Dr. Surinder Sharda with the direction to the complainant to return the pager facility to the opposite party after receipt of the aforesaid amount.
2. The complainant, a practising doctor at Jalandhar, hired pager services from the opposite party on August 14,1996. The complaint before the District Forum was filed on November 20, 1996 making grouse that the complainant could not utilize the facility of pager even from his own telephone No. 220051 installed at his clinic at Jalandhar and that range of the pager was stated to be 45 kms but it was ineffective at Phagwara where the complainant used to go for his professional work. The opposite party denied having assured the complainant about the range of the pager upto 45 kms. Otherwise it was admitted that from telephone No. 220051, the pager services could not have been contacted for technical reasons which were within the domains of the Telephone Department. From the telephone starting with 22 series, the code of the pager 9612 was not contactable, otherwise, it was asserted that all the messages received were duly transmitted to the pager of the complainant. Some faults pointed out were removed, one of them being the replacement of the battery cells. Both the parties led their evidence on affidavits on the basis of which the impugned order was passed.
3. Learned Counsel for the appellant has argued that there was no fault of the appellant if the pager service was not contactable from a particular exchange. This contention in the context of the present case cannot be accepted. The fact cannot be lost sight of that when advertisements are made by such companies either for selling their products or for rendering services, in that sense no terms and conditions are advertised. Even in the contract of hiring services in the present case, there is no condition that in the town of Jalandhar the paging service could not be contacted from a particular exchange. As far as the complainant is concerned when he hired the pager service, he gave his telephone No. which is incorporated in the service contract executed by the opposite party which is at page 51 of the District Forum records. Not only the telephone number, the address of the complainant is also mentioned therein. Even from such address if the paging service could not be contacted, it was of no use for entering into such a service contract of which the complainant could have no utility and that would per se amount to deficiency in rendering service. The finding of the District Forum in this respect is, therefore, affirmed.
4. Learned Counsel for the appellant has argued that amounts of compensation of Rs. 5,000/- and Rs. 1,000/- towards costs are highly excessive, more so, when the complainant has not produced any evidence of actual loss having been suffered on account of such deficiency in rendering service. There is some force in this contention. It was only for about 2 months that the complainant kept the pager and approached the District Forum with his grouse. The only question, thus, remains to be considered as to whether during this period of 2 months, the complainant had suffered any monetary loss in his profession. There is no fool-proof formula to be applied for fixing compensation in such like matters. It has been argued that complainant had to arrange for a shop boy to attend to the telephone messages to be received in the absence of the pager facility and the compensation could be assessed taking into consideration daily wages of atleast one person in this respect. This may be one of the modes of determining compensation but it cannot be said that such a boy, if employed, would only do the work of conveying messages received on the telephone throughout the day. If alternative source for getting information was available, it can well be imagined that there was no monetary loss on account of non-availability of the pager service. Still, there was harassment as the pager was obtained for professional use but was a liability. A notional compensation in such a matter is required to be fixed. A sum of Rs. 1,500/- is considered just compensation for the same. To that extent, the order of the District Forum requires modification. As far as the quantum of costs is concerned, it is left to the discretion of the Fora dealing with the
Please Login To View The Full Judgment!
matter and we find no ground to interfere the order of District Forum in this respect. For the reasons stated above, this appeal is partly allowed. The order of the District Forum is modified with respect to the quantum of compensation as stated above. The appellant would pay compensation of Rs. 1,500/- and costs of Rs. 1,000/- as allowed by the District Forum. The directions given are required to be complied within one month from receipt of copy of this order. Appeal partly allowed.