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Panasonic Avc Networks India Co. Ltd. v/s Afrin Khatoon & Another

    First Appeal No.774 of 2012

    Decided On, 24 January 2014

    At, Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission New Delhi

    By, MEMBER


Judgment Text

S.A. Siddiqui, (Judicial) Member:

1) Alleging deficiency of service on the part of the OP, complainant/respondent-1 filed a consumer complaint before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (South) New Delhi, for a refund of the price of the T.V., compensation and the cost. During the course of the proceedings on 01.08.2011 ex-parte proceedings were drawn against OP-2/appellant as neither OP-2 nor counsel was present before the Forum. Counsel for the OP-2 reached a bit late and moved an application for setting aside ex-parte order, but this application was dismissed on the ground that the District Forum had no power to set aside the ex-parte or to recall its own order. Therefore, the OP-2 preferred this appeal which is under consideration.

2) On to filing the appeal, notices were issued to the respondents. Respondent-1/complainant appeared and filed reply.

3) It has been argued on behalf of the Ld. Counsel for the appellant that on 01.08.2011, counsel for the appellant could not appear before the Ld. District Forum as he was held up before the District Court in Saket. When he appeared before the District Forum impugned order for proceeding ex-parte against OP had already been passed. The counsel for the appellant immediately moved an application for setting aside ex-parte order, the same day. Thus the absence before the District Forum on 01.08.2011 was neither intentional nor deliberately, but due to reasons beyond the control of the appellant/counsel, therefore, appeal should be allowed in the interest of justice and parties should be given opportunity to complete their pleadings so that issue could be decided on merits.

4) On the other hand, counsel for the complainant/respondent-1 argued that the Ld. District Forum was fully justified in passing the impugned order dt. 01.08.2011 and thereafter dismissed the application for setting aside the ex-parte order as the District Forum had no power to recall its own order. The impugned order does not suffer from any infirmity or illegality and therefore, appeal is not maintainable and liable to be dismissed.

5) 'principle of natural justice’ do apply in full force in consumer proceedings. Rules of natural justice is to secure justice or conversely to prevent miscarriage of justice. The principle of audi alteram partem 'hear both the sides' is invariably followed by consumer courts.

6) We are favourably inclined to agree with arguments of the Ld. Counsel for the appellant that interest of justice will be better served by allowing the appeal and setting aside impugned order dt. 01.08.2011 and 13.12.2011. Since the proceedings have been delayed to certain extent due to default of the appellant it is necessary to impose adequate costs to ensure even handed justice. A sum of Rs. 1,000/-, is therefore, imposed as costs which shall be paid to the complainant/respondent-1. The matter is therefore being remitted back to the District Forum concerned for deciding the matter in accordance with law after providing the parties opportunity of leading their respective evidence.

7) Accordingly the appeal is allowed. Impugned orders dt. 01.08.2011 and 13.12.2011 are hereby set aside subject to payment of Rs. 1,000/- as cost. The parties are directed to appear before the District Forum concerned on 11.03.20

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14. 8) Cost shall be paid to the complainant/respondent-1 on appearance within two weeks positively, failing which this order would become nonest/nugatory. 6) Let a copy of the order be placed on the record of the District Forum. Copies of the order shall be provided to the parties free of cost as per rules thereafter, file be consigned to record room.