At, Tamil Nadu State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Chennai
By, HON'BLE THIRU JUSTICE K.SAMPATH PRESIDENT THIRU PON.GUNASEKARAN
For the Appearing Parties: M/s. T.D. Selvan Babu, Advocates.
K.SAMPATH J.(open court)
1. The 3rd opposite party in C.O.P.No.204/2003 on the file of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Madurai, is the appellant herein.
2. The case of the complainant was that he purchased a SLICE soft drink bottle on 24/06/2003 from opposite party No.2 in a betel nut shop for Rs.20/- and when he took it home, he found an insect inside the bottle that when he approached opposite party No.2, he denied any liability and pointed his fingers at opposite party No.3/Appellant and based on the above, the complaint came to be filed. It would appear that the factory in Mamandur had been made opposite party No.3 though there was a factory at Madurai that the Mamandur Factory officials forwarded a copy of the notice to Madurai Manager along with other routine official communications and documents and since a notice was only a copy, the staff at Madurai factory were under bonafide impression that the consumer proceedings were being handled by Mamandur factory Manager and that the copy of the notice had been sent to the Madurai Factory people for the purpose of information and in such circumstances, the 3rd opposite party did not appear and contest the case which resulted in an ex-parte final order. After the copy of the final order was received, opposite party No.3 took steps to set aside the ex-parte order on 20/07/2004 by taking out an application but the application was returned and in such circumstances, the present appeal came to be filed.
3. We are of the view that the 3rd opposite party should have been diligent and contested the case by filing their version before the District Forum, Madurai. Interests of Justice however require that opposite party No.3 should be granted an opportunity to appear before the District Forum, Madurai, file their version and contest the complaint on merits. This will however be subject to payment of a reasonable amount as costs to the complainant. The order of the District Forum is to the effect that the 1st opposite party should return the price of the soft drink while opposite parties 2 & 3 should pay Rs.10,000/- as compensation to the complainant and Rs.1,000/- towards costs. It has not been brought to our notice whether any appeal has been filed by opposite party No.2. Be that as it may. So far as opposite party No.3 is concerned, they must be given an opportunity as already noted.
4. Consequently, the appeal is allowed so far as opposite party No.3 is concerned, the order of the District Forum as regards opposite party No.3 shall stand set aside and the matter is remitted back to the District Forum for consideration afresh subject to the 3rd opposite party paying Rs.3,000/- as costs to the complainant within eight weeks from today. The parties shall appear before the Dis
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trict Forum on 04/06/2008 and on the same day the 3rd opposite party shall file their version and contest the case on merits. The District Forum shall dispose of the matter within two months therefrom. If the order as to costs as above is not complied with by the 3rd opposite party, the appeal shall stand dismissed.