Revision Petition No. 355/2006
M.B. Shah, President:
1. Heardthe learned Counsel for the petitioner.
2. Being aggrieved and dissatisfied by the judgment and order dated 17.11.2005 passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Maharashtra, in First Appeal No. 2410/2004 petitioner-manufacturer of the seeds has preferred this revision petition. By the impugned order the State Commission confirmed the order passed by the District Consumer Forum, Yavatmal in Consumer Case No. 188/2004. By the said order, the District Forum has directed the petitioner to pay a compensation of Rs. 65,250 to the complainant for the loss in produce of crop due to the defective seeds produced by the petitioner and sold by respondent No. 2, dealer. The District Forum also directed to pay the said amount with interest @ 9% p.a. from the date of filing of the complaint i.e., 30.6.2004 till the date of actual payment.
3. Learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner submitted that the impugned order passed by the State Commission is illegal and erroneous, because:
(i) The impugned order passed by the State Commission is against the law laid down by the Apex Court in the case of Haryana Seeds Development Corporation v. Sadhuand Anr., 2005 (1) CPR 169 (SC).
(ii) The District Forum has not followed the procedure prescribed under Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 as the seeds were not sent for test to the Laboratory.
4. In our view, firstly it is to be stated that the aforesaid judgment of the Apex Court would not be applicable to the facts of the case. In that case the Supreme Court found that the National Commission committed error in not reading the report of the Expert Committee. The Expert Committee in that report observed that the crop condition varied from 'satisfactory to excellent'. The Court also quoted the report of the Expert Committee which is as under:
The Committee stated:
'Hence the variation in the condition of crop in the same lot of seed at different fields may not be attributed to quality of seed but to the other factors including high salt concentration, Brackish Water, Moisture content at the sowing time, sowing method and soil physical conditions, which also play a major role in germination of seeds and crop stand.'
In the operative part, the Committee concuded:
'It may be concluded that variation in the condition of the corp may not be attributed to the quality of seeds but it may be due to other factors including water quality used for irrigations, long dry spell, salt accumulation in surface layer, sowing methodology, moisture content at the sowing time and soil physical condition.'
5. Thereafter, in that context, the Apex Court observed that reading the report in its entirety it is clear that the Expert Committee was satisfied that the variation in the condition of the crop was not and could not be attributed to the quality of seeds but to other factors.
6. As against this, in the present case, the District Forum as well as the State Commission referred to the report submitted by the District Seeds Enquiry Committee which was submitted after carrying out the local inspection of the crop. At the time of inspection, the Committee found that there was vast variance in the characteristics of the plants. That Committee was consisting of qualified and experienced Agricultural Officers and they came to a definite conclusion on the basis of variance in characteristic of (sic the plants). The Committee further observed that other things were normal, yet there was poor germination. Therefore, adulteration could not be attributed to any other reason. The report was unanimous.
7. However, the learned Counsel for the petitioner submitted that complainant was not having any water facility in the summer season, namely, in the month of May when the crop was grown. This contention was also not raised before the State Commission, but it was raised before the District Forum and the District Forum has given the specific finding that crop belonging to the complainant was under irrigation from well water and that has been reflected in 7/12 extract for the relevant year. The District Forum further mentioned that as per the revenue record, orange and wheat crops were also taken in some areas. In short, the District Forum observed that the land was well irrigated. The District Forum, therefore, relying upon the Certificate issued by letter dated 5.6.2004 in which it was mentioned that District Seeds Enquiry Committee inspected the complainant’s field and the ground nut crop on 22.5.2004 and found that compared to the characteristics of T.A.G., 24 seeds was 68% adulterated and having other species traces. As per the said Certificate there was no effect of soil, weather, pests or any natural calamity on the said crop. The District Forum, therefore, held that the seeds were adulterated to the extent of 68%. On that basis, the District Forum awarded the compensation. Other aspects are also discussed by the District Forum. However, it is not necessary to deal with them.
8. With regard to the second contention, it is to be stated that farmers are not expected to assume that seeds supplied by the petitioners would be defective or adulterated. Normally, they rely upon the brochure or its advertisement. Hence, before sowing the seeds they would not keep some seeds reserved for their testing. Hence, the contention that the District Forum ought to have sent the seeds for testing to a laboratory is of no substance. In any set of circumstances, the procedure prescribed under the Seeds Act is followed and the District Seeds Com
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mittee had held the necessary inquiry and had given its report. That report cannot be brushed aside on the contention that the seeds were not sent for testing to a laboratory. 9. In the result, Revision Petition No. 355/2006 is dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs. Revision Petition No. 356/2006 10. For the reasons recorded above in Revision Petition No. 355/2006, involving the same question, this Revision Petition is also required to be dismissed. Hence, it is dismissed. 11. There shall be no order as to costs, in both the Revision Petitions. Revision Petitions dismissed.