Ajit Bharihoke, Presiding Member
1. The petitioner/complainant being aggrieved of the order of the State Commission dated 10.1.2017 in Appeal Nos. 474 of 2013 and 720 of 2013 has preferred this revision petition.
2. Briefly put, the facts relevant for the disposal of the revision petition are that petitioner has obtained a Hindustan Petroleum cooking gas connection No. 114756 from respondent No. l- gas agency. On 24.10.2010, at around 7.00 p.m., son of the complainant Kaushal Kumar for changing the gas cylinder removed the seal (cap) of the cylinder. The moment seal (cap) was removed, the gas started gushing out with tremendous pressure, as a result of which fire broke out. Consequently, computer set, milk masher, gas stove, regulator, 10 kgs of Ghee, all original certificates of son of the complainant from 10th class onwards to BCA, Rs. 36,000, driving licence, insurance policy, R.C. and insurance of motorcycle etc as also the sale deed of the land got burnt, resulting in loss of about 4,50,000 to the complainant. Intimation of fire was given to the police. Fire tender reached at the spot and extinguished the fire. According to the complainant, fire accident took place because of defect in the sea of gas cylinder. Being aggrieved the complainant filed consumer complaint.
3. The consumer complaint was resisted by OP No. l as also M/s Hindustan Petroleum by filing written statement denying the allegations on merit as also liability to pay compensation.
4. The District Forum on consideration of the pleadings and evidence adduced by the parties allowed the complaint and ordered the opposite parties to pay compensation of Rs. 4,50,000 to the complainant along with 9% interest p.a. w.e.f. 24.10.2010 besides Rs. 10,000 was awarded as compensation for mental agony suffered by the complainant and cost of litigation.
5. The opposite parties being aggrieved of the order of the District Forum filed separate Appeal No. 474 of 2013 and Appeal No. 720 of 2013. The State Commission Rajasthan on re-appreciation of evidence partly allowed the appeal and while maintaining the order of the District Forum on merits, reduced the compensation. The operative portion of the order is reproduced as under:
“Thus, we think it fit to allow this appeal to this extent and while carrying out the amendment in the impugned judgment of the learned District Forum give this direction that complainant shall be entitled to the amount of Rs. 1,00,000 towards the expenses to be incurred in obtaining the Duplicate Certificates and amount of Rs. 1,00,000 as compensation towards the mental agony and cost of proceedings of complaint and appeal i.e. total amount of Rs. 2,00,000 against both the respondents jointly and severally. Thus, this appeal is allowed partially to this extent. “
6. Mr. Madhurendra Kumar, Advocate for the petitioner has contended that impugned order is not sustainable because it has been passed by a Single Member of the State Commission. The argument is misconceived. Section 16(1)(B) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (in short, the Act) answers the issue which is reproduced as under:
“16. Composition of the State Commission:
(IB) (i) The jurisdiction, powers and authority of the State Commission may be exercised by Benches thereof.
(ii) A Bench may be constituted by the President with one or more members as the President may deem fit. “
7. On reading of the above, it is clear that Act provides that jurisdiction and powers of State Commission may be exercised by the Benches thereof and as per Section 16(1)(B)(ii) of the Act, the Bench may be constituted by the President with one or more members as the President may deem fit. From this, it is evident that there is no bar on the President of the State Commission to constitute a Single Member Bench. There is nothing on record to suggest that Single Member Bench was not constituted by the President of the State Commission. Therefore it cannot be said that impugned order has been passed by a Bench not having jurisdiction to decide the appeal.
8. Secondly, it is argued on behalf of the petitioner that State Commission has committed a grave error in reducing the compensation awarded by the District Forum ignoring the fact that it was specifically alleged by the petitioner / complainant that because of fire he had suffered loss of property to the tune of Rs. 4,50,000 .
9. Perusal of the impugned order would show that State Commission had reduced the compensation observing that complainant has failed to lead proper evidence regarding valuation of the property loss in fire. Counsel for the petitioner has not been able to show me cogent evidence to indicate that due to fire, petitioner suffered loss of the property
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worth Rs. 4,50,000 or more than the amount of compensation awarded by the State Commission. The onus of proving the quantum of loss was squarely on the complainant. In absence of any cogent evidence to fix the value of the loss, I do not find merit in the revision petition seeking enhancement of compensation. 10. In view of the discussion above, I do not find any reason to interfere with the well reasoned order of the State Commission in exercise of the revisional jurisdiction. Revision Petition is accordingly, dismissed.