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Savithri v/s The Managing Director, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd., (A Government of India Undertaking), Mumbai & Another


Company & Directors' Information:- N. P. PETROLEUM LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U23201UP1995PLC018153

Company & Directors' Information:- S V S PETROLEUM PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U51909DL2002PTC116940

Company & Directors' Information:- INDIA PETROLEUM COMPANY LIMITED [Dissolved] CIN = U99999MH1936PTC002453

    Complaint No. 369 of 2015

    Decided On, 23 July 2021

    At, Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Bangalore

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE RAVI SHANKAR
    By, JUDICIAL MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MRS. SUNITA C. BAGEWADI
    By, MEMBER

    For the Complainant: M. Nagaraja, Advocate. For the Opposite Parties: M.C.B., J.R., D.L., Advocates.



Judgment Text

Ravi Shankar, Judicial Member

The complainant filed this complaint against Opposite Party Nos. 1 to 3 alleging deficiency in service in not granting compensation towards the death of her Daughter, Son-In-Law and Grand Son due to explosion of gas cylinder at their residence. Hence, prays for compensation to the tune of Rs.35,00,000/- with interest @ 18% towards explosion of gas cylinder along with Rs.1,00,000/- towards inconvenience and for mental agony.

2. The facts of the complaint are as under:-

The complainant had obtained a domestic gas connection vide consumer No.645681 having single cylinder gas connection with the residential address as mentioned in the cause title and she was residing there till the end of April 2014 with her husband, Daughter, Son-in-Law and Grand Son. Such being the case, the last gas cylinder was supplied by Opposite Party No.3 on 26/04/2014 in the above address at Lakshmidevinagar. The Opposite Party No.1 is the manufacturer and supplier of LPG gas cylinder for both domestic and commercial purpose, the Opposite Party No.3 is the local distributing agency and the Opposite Party No.2 is the insurer to the Opposite Party No.1 which covers the risk of public liability policy vide policy bearing No.021700/46/14/37/00000041, which is valid from 02/05/2014 to midnight of 01/05/2015.

2(a) The complainant further submitted that her daughter was doing a tailoring work and she decided to join a garment factory to eak-out her livelihood and since she was having a small 7 months old baby and having no one to take care of the baby, the complainant has decided to change the residence nearer to her daughter’s work place in and around Rajagopala Nagara in Bangalore City. Accordingly, the complainant found a suitable house bearing No.367, II main road, 6th cross, Kasthuri Layout, Rajagopal Nagara, Bangalore for a rent to the tune of Rs.2,500/- and decided to shift from the above address to the new house at the end of April 2014 or first week of May-2014 and accordingly they performed a pooja in their new rented house on 30th April and shifted half of her house hold articles on May 1st 2014 in their own auto belonging to her husband. On 01/05/2014 the complainant’s daughter, son-in-law and grandson were stayed in the new house at Kasthuri Layout ad in the night the complainant and her husband come back to their old house in Lakshmidevinagar so as to shift the remaining household articles early morning on the next date. On the next day i.e. on 02/05/2014 the complainant and her husband were packing the items and at about 7.00 AM they received a phone call from the neighbors of their new house who informed her that fire accident has occurred in her new house due to gas leakage and in that the complainant’s daughter, son-in-law and grandson are seriously injured, immediately the complainant and her husband rushed to their new house at Kasthuri layout and found her daughter, son-inlaw and 7 months old grandson in the pool of fire and the entire house was also severely damaged. Immediately they called the jurisdictional policy, fire station and the gas agency and informed about the fire incident and they also called 108 ambulance and in the ambulance they have taken the three injured to the Victoria Hospital for treatment.

2(b) The complainant further submitted that all the three injured have not responded to the treatment and due to the severe burnt injuries, complainant’s 7 months old grandson succumbed to injuries on 06/05/2014 at about 7.00 PM and within half an hour i.e., at about 7.30 PM her daughter Smt.Nagu has also died and on the early morning of the next day i.e. on 07/05/2014 at about 3.30 AM her son-in-law has also died due to burn injuries and after completion of hospital formalities the complainant has performed the cremation of all the three deceased persons. The said fire accident was caused due to gas leakage which was supplied by Opposite Party Nos. 1 & 3. Apart from the death of her daughter, son-in-law and grandson, the entire house was damaged. The gas cylinder was delivered to his old house on 26.04.2014 and after they shifted the gas cylinder on 01/05/2014 in order to perform Pooja. Unfortunately on next day, it was leaked and caught fire in the early morning. Hence, the Opposite Party Nos. 1 to 3 have supplied a defective gas cylinder which resulted in fire accident. The police have registered a complaint and fire station officials also enquired about the fire accident and registered UDR No.35/2014.

2(c) The complainant further submitted that her daughter was a tailor and she was working in the garment factory and she was earning to the tune of Rs.8-10 thousand per month and she left her work during her pregnancy and she only looking her daughter and grandson after birth. The son-in-law of the complainant also a carpenter who ears 15-18 thousand per month and complainant’s family was also depending on the income of her daughter and son-in-law who were residing with them only because of unnatural death due to fire accident, the complainant lost beloved daughter and have no other source of income to her livelihood.

2(d) The complainant further alleged that after the fire accident, she claimed for compensation for the loss caused from the company though she has informed the accident to the jurisdictional police station, fire station and to the Opposite Party No.3 about the fire accident. The Opposite Parties have not made any arrangement for payment of the compensation, for which she gave a representation on 22/07/2014 through RPAD for settlement of the claim from Opposite Party Nos. 1 & 3 along with relevant documents with respect to the fire accident and even after receipt of the said requisition, the Opposite Parties have not settled the claim. The fire accident was caused only due to defect in the gas cylinder which was used at the first time at new house on 01.05.2014. Hence, prays for compensation to the tune of Rs.35,00,000/-.

2(e) The complainant further submitted that the Opposite Parties have not settled the claim made by the complainant, for which the complainant issued a legal notice to Opposite Party Nos. 1to 3 and called upon them to pay the compensation for loss and damages. Instead of settlement of claim, the Opposite Party No.3 has replied untenably on 03.10.2014 admitting delivery of gas cylinder and receipt of complainant’s representation. The Opposite Party No.1 also gave a reply dated:30.12.2014 denying their liability of payment of compensation. The Opposite Party No.2 who was the insurer neither replied nor made any arrangement for the settlement of the claim. Hence, complainant filed this complaint alleging deficiency in service and prays compensation as prayed above.

3. After service of notice, the Opposite Parties appeared through their counsels. The Opposite Party No.1 has not filed its version.

3(a) The Opposite Party No.3 in his version has contended that they have no knowledge about the performance of Pooja on 30.04.2014 at new house where they supposed to shift from the old adderess and they have also no knowledge about the complainant’s daughter, son-in-law and grandson were stayed in the new house and denied all the parawise averments made in the complaint and further submits that the complainant is the customer of domestic gas cylinder with this Opposite Party from 11.11.2012 with the consumer No.6465681 and complainant used to book cylinder and the person working with this Opposite Party used to deliver it to the house of the complainant after duly checking the same. One of the important terms and conditions of the delivery domestic gas cylinder is that it is non transferable and it shall not be shifted outside the jurisdiction of this agency. In this case, the complainant admittedly booked the cylinder involved in the accident on 25/04/2014 and the same was delivered by this Opposite Party on 29/04/2014. Later, the said cylinder was transferred from Lakshmidevinagar, Nandini Layout to Rajagopal Nagar illegally and unjustifiably without the permission of the Opposite Party. The fire accident was took place on 02.05.2014, whereas they have delivered the cylinder on 29.04.2014 itself and during those days admittedly there was no any leakage in the cylinder. This clearly shows that there was no defect in the cylinder supplied by them and if any damage was caused or injury was caused, it is only due to shifting of the cylinder from Lakshmidevi Nagar to Rajagopal Nagar illegally.

3(b) The Opposite Party No.3 further contended that they came to know about the accident a week after the incident that too from the new papers, in which it was clearly stated that the son-in-law of the complainant who switched on the lights in the Kitchen and due to gas leakage over the night due to negligent handling of the gas connection, accident had taken place. Hence, it is purely negligence on the part of son-in-law of the complainant and due to which the fire was caused. Without permission of this Opposite Party, the complainant has negligently shifted the cylinder from her residence to her daughter’s residence. Hence, they are not liable to pay any compensation as claimed by the complainant.

3(c) The Opposite Party No.3 further contended that this Opposite Party is only an agency of Opposite Party No.1 who fills the cylinder and supplies the same to this Opposite Party who distribute the same to its customers like the complainant. Every standard precaution is taken while receiving the cylinders from the Opposite Party No.1 storing in the godown of the Opposite Party and before supplying to the customer they have promptly verified the cylinders with respect to the leakage and after proper check-up, they delivered the cylinders to the customers. Hence, there is no any negligence on their part in delivering the cylinder. Hence, submits no deficiency in service and prays for dismissal of the complaint.

4. The Opposite Party No.2 also filed version and contended that the complaint filed by the complainant is misconceived and not maintainable either in law or on facts. The complainant has not come up with the clean hands to the Forum and claim is illegal. The complaint is not maintainable under the Consumer Protection Act. The complainant is not a legal heir of the deceased for claiming the compensation. The complainant has to prove the relationship of the deceased whether they were the customers or not to the 3rd Opposite Party. But in this case, the complainant had not proved the relationship of the deceased and the deceased were not at all a customer to the Opposite Party. It is admitted that the complainant had took a connection for her home and there is no gas connection in the name of deceased and also there is no gas connection in the said address where the accident took place. It is only an illegal connection without the knowledge of the 1st and 2nd Opposite Party. The complainant had shifted her cylinder to new house. Hence, this Opposite Party is not liable to pay any compensation to the complainant and if at all any award passed by this Commission, the 1st and 3rd Opposite Parties are only liable to pay the compensation. The notice issued by the complainant was replied suitably and submits that they have issued a policy in the name of 3rd Opposite Party and the public liability is subject to statutory provisions and it is purely contractual in nature binding the parties to the contract. They have acted strictly in accordance with the terms and conditions of the public liability policy and complainant is not entitled to get any relief. Hence, prays for dismissal of the complaint.

5. Complainant filed affidavit evidence and marked the documents as Ex.C1 to C23. The Opposite Party No.2 files affidavit evidence.

6. We have heard the arguments.

7. On perusal, the following points will arise for our consideration;

(1) Whether the complaint deserves to be allowed?

(2) What Order?

8. The findings to the above points are;

(1) Partly affirmative.

(2) As per final Order

REASONS:

Point Nos. (1) & (2):-

9. It is an admitted fact that on 01.05.2014 a fire accident took place at the address bearing No. 367, II main road, 6th cross, Kasthuri Layout, Rajagopal Nagara, Bangalore where the daughter, son-in-law and grandson of the complainant were suffered burn injuries due to fire accident. Later-on it is came to know that the fire accident was took place due to explosion of gas cylinder (domestic), the same was published in the news paper. After the fire accident, the injured were shifted to Victoria Hospital and all of them were succumbed to the injuries at Hospital. Afterwards the complainant performed final rituals and went to her home town. There afterwards came to Bangalore and claimed for compensation for the loss of her family members i.e., daughter, son-in-law and grandson.

10. The complainant has narrated in the complaint and sworn affidavit that she intended to shift the residential house from Lakshmidevinagar to Rajagopal Nagar and accordingly she had performed a Pooja on 30.04.2014. Unfortunately on 02.05.2014 at about 7.00 AM, she received information about the fire accident took place in the new house.

11. The defense taken by the Opposite Party No.3 is that, the complainant had not obtained any permission to shift the cylinder from her old residence to new residence and alleges that she had shifted the cylinder illegally and also contended that at the time of delivery of the cylinder to the complainant i.e., on 29.04.2014 there was no any leakage in the cylinder and it is out of defects. If any fire accident took place, it is only due to negligence on the part of either daughter, son-in-law of the complainant. hence, submits no deficiency in service.

12. On the other hand Opposite Party No.2 who had issued a public liability policy to Opposite Party No.3 contended that the complainant is only a customer to the 3rd Opposite Party and none of the deceased were customers to the Opposite Party No.3. They cover public liability only to the customers of the Opposite Party No.3. Hence, submits inability to settle the claim and also alleges if at all any claim awarded that has to be payable by only Opposite Party Nos. 1 & 2 and submits no deficiency in service on their part also.

13. On going through the photos produced by the complainants, we believe that the deceased lade is none other than the daughter of the complainant and that person is son-in-law and photo also reflects grandson. Hence, we believe that deceased are the daughter, son-in-law and grandson. On going through the UDR No.35/2014 they have mentioned it categorically that on 02.05.2014 at the morning the gas caught fire due to th

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e gas leakage when he tried to ignite the burner. Hence, we believe that the fire accident was only due to leakage in the gas cylinder and it is also established that she had shifted her residence from old house to new address and performed Pooja. The Opposite Party No.3 is not supposed to expect earlier information for change of address with respect to residence from complainant who is an illiterate one. We are of the opinion that the complainant might have applied for change of address subsequently after shifting their house. But unfortunately on the day of performing pooja, the fire incident happened. By virtue of the policy towards public liability, the Opposite Party No.2 is liable to pay compensation to the complainants for death of the daughter, son-in-law and grandson of the complainant. Hence, it is just and proper to direct the Opposite Party No.2 to pay Rs.12,00,000/- as a global compensation along with cost of Rs.25,000/- towards the death of the deceased daughter, son-in-law and grandson of the complainant. Hence, the complaint against the Opposite Party Nos. 1 & 3 is labile to be dismissed. Accordingly, ORDER: The complaint is allowed with cost against the Opposite Party No.2 only. The Opposite Party No.2 is directed to pay Rs.12,00,000/- as a global compensation and Rs.25,000/- towards cost to the complainant within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order. Failing which the payable amount carries interest @ 6% PA from the date of complaint till realization. The complaint against Opposite Party Nos. 1 & 3 is dismissed. Send a copy of this order to both parties.
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