w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Sawita Rani v/s Janta Gas Service & Others


Company & Directors' Information:- GAS CORPORATION INDIA LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U40200BR1993PLC005536

Company & Directors' Information:- SERVICE CORPORATION LIMITED [Dissolved] CIN = U93090KL1946PLC001075

Company & Directors' Information:- JANTA CORPORATION LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U45202PB1953PLC000208

Company & Directors' Information:- JANTA CORPORATION LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U70102PB1953PLC002140

    Revision Petiton No. 4867 of 2012

    Decided On, 10 March 2021

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. C. VISWANATH
    By, PRESIDING MEMBER

    For the Petitioner: Manish Miglani, Advocate. For the Respondent: R1, Mritunjay Kumar Singh, R2, Ms. Savita Rustogi, R3, Vishnu Mehra, Advocates.



Judgment Text

C. Viswanath, Presiding Member1. The present Revision Petition, under Section 21 (b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (for short “the Act”) has been filed by the Petitioner against order dated 3.9.2012 of the Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Panchkuala (for short “State Commission”) in First Appeal No. 1008/2012 wherein the Appeal filed by the Petitioner was dismissed.2. Case of the Petitioner/Complainant is that on 20.8.2010 the Complainant booked Indane Cylinder through Respondent No. 1, vide Sr. No. 6254, and thereafter the Complainant again booked second cylinder on 20.9.2010, vide Sr. No. 10513, and the delivery was effected through Respondent No. 2, on 29.9.2010. On 30.10.2010 at about 6.30 p.m. when the Complainant as well as her family members were not present at their residence, as they had gone to their neighbour’s house, the Complainant heard a loud noise from the side of her house. When the Complainant rushed towards her house she saw that her house had caught fire due to bursting of the Gas cylinders. Thereafter the Complainant called the Fire Brigade and the Police. A DDR bearing No. 19 dated 30.10.2010 was lodged and the Fire Brigade also gave their report, vide Fire Report No. 11 dated 30.10.2010. Various household items such as furniture, electronic appliances etc. as well as jewellery and cash amount of Rs. 78,000 were lost in the fire. On 2.11.2010, she moved an application along with copy of DDR, photocopy of Newspaper, Fire Brigade Report and list of articles before Respondent No. 1 for compensation. Respondent No. 1, however, had neither given any compensation nor any reply to her. On 4.11.2010, she again moved an application regarding the claim and compensation. Thereafter, a Surveyor Sh. Sanjeev Chhabra was appointed and he sought certain documents from the Complainant, vide letter dated 8.11.2010. The Complainant submitted all the requisite documents to the office of the Surveyor. However, Respondent No. 1 kept prolonging the matter and on 3.2.2011 finally refused the claim. Complainant thereafter filed a Complaint before the District Forum with the following prayer:“that the respondent may kindly be ordered to give a sum of Rs. 2,56,805 as building loss, Rs. 5,86,500 as the loss of house hold articles, rent expenses of Rs. 5,000 per month from the date of fire, Rs. 1,00,000 for physical harassment and mental pain along with interest at the rate of 24% per annum to the complainant, in the interest of justice and equity.”3. The case was contested by the Respondents/Opposite Parties before the District Forum. Opposite Party No. 1/Respondent No. 1 that it had taken an Insurance Policy from Opposite Party No. 3/Respondent No. 3 vide cover note No. 238732/734355/734356/734357 dated 9.12.2019, covering the liability qua public. Respondent No. 2/Opposite Party No. 2 had also taken insurance cover for indemnifying the complainant in respect of any claims awarded to the third party in respect of liability at law. Hence, Complainant was not entitled for any claim from Respondent No. 2/Opposite Party No. 2 and prayed for dismissal of the Claim. Respondent No. 2/Opposite Party No. 2 in its reply followed the same line of Opposite Party No. 1 and prayed for dismissal of the Complaint. Respondent No. 3/Opposite Party No. 3 stated that the liability is covered only when the cylinders from the insured’s premises are in course of being carried for installation in the premises of the insured customers in the insured premises. As per terms and conditions of the Policy the liability to third party is covered only if the incident happens at the time of installation of gas cylinder in the customer’s premises or whilst carrying back such empty cylinders. In the present case explosion happened after a gap of one month of the installation of the gas cylinder. Therefore, Opposite Party No. 3/Respondent No. 3 was not liable to indemnify for the loss suffered by the Complainant.4. The District Forum, having heard the Learned Counsels for the Parties and also consideringthe evidence and material placed on record, dismissed the Complaint as under:“Hence in view of the above discussion, present complaint does not succeed. We dismiss the present complaint, with no order as to costs. File be consigned to record after due compliance.”5. Aggrieved by the order of the District Forum, the Complainant filed an Appeal before the State Commission. After hearing learned Counsels for the Parties and perusing the record, the State Commission dismissed the Appeal with the following order:“Having heard the learned Counsel for the appellant and going through the case relied upon by him, we do not find any force in his contention. In the Madhuri Govilkar case (supra), the compensation on account of death of husband of the complainant, whereas in the instant case compensation was sought by the complainant on account of loss to the household articles, which was damaged in the file caught due to the blasting of cylinder. Even otherwise, in the instant case admitted fact is that cylinder was delivered to the complainant on 20.9.2010, whereas incident of blast took place on 30.10.2010, i.e. after about one month. In this view of the matter, no deficiency in service or unfair trade practice can be drawn on the part of the opposite parties. Hence, we do not find any illegality or ambiguity in the impugned order passed y the District Forum.No merit. Dismissed in limini.”6. Aggrieved by the order of the State Commission, the Complainant preferred the present Revision Petition before this Commission.7. Heard learned Counsel for the Petitioner and have carefully gone through the record. Brief facts of that case are that the Complainant is a consumer of Respondent/Opposite Party No. 1 vide LPG Gas connection/consumer No. 18133 and SV No. 1612928 dated 17.1.2000. Earlier the said connection was purchased from Shalini Gas Agency and thereafter it was transferred to the agency of Opposite Party No. 1, i.e. Janta Gas Agency. The Complainant was having two cylinders on the said connection. Opposite Party No. 1 is the authorized dealer of Opposite Party No. 2 and Opposite Party No. 3 is the insurer of products of Opposite Party Nos. 1 and 2. On 20.8.2010 the Complainant booked Indane gas cylinder through Respondent No. 1, vide Sr. No. 6254, and thereafter booked a second cylinder on 20.9.2010, vide Sr. No. 10513. On 30.10.2010 at about 6.30 p.m. when the Complainant as well as her family members were not present at their residence, as they had gone to their neighbour’s house, the Complainant heard a loud noise from her house. On hearing the loud noise, the Complainant rushed towards her house and she saw that her house had caught fire due to bursting of the Gas cylinder. As per the Complainant, two cylinders burst one after the other. Immediately thereafter, the Fire Brigade and the Police arrived at the site of the incident. On 2.11.2010, the Complainant move an application along with a copy of DDR, photocopy of Newspaper, Fire Brigade Report and list of articles before Respondent No. 1 for compensation. Thereafter, a Surveyor was appointed by Respondent No. 1, who demanded certain documents from the Complainant. The Complainant duly provided the requisite documents to the office of the Surveyor. On 3.2.2011, however, Respondent No. 1 rejected the claim of the Complainant. The State Commission had erred in not examining the Fire Brigade Report which pointed out that there was leakage in the LPG cylinder and in observing that “it did not find anything established the occurrence of fire was due to cylinder burst.” The State Commission while passing the impugned order failed to appreciate that the District Forum dismissed the Complaint on the basis of doubts and was liable to be set aside.8. The Counsel for the Respondent No. 1 contended that the Complaint was not maintainable and that the Complainant had no locus standi to file and maintain the Complaint. It was also contended that the Complaint did not disclose any cause of action. Respondent No. 1 had taken an insurance policy covering any liability qua public for the period 8.12.2009 to 7.12.2010 from Oriental Insurance Company, i.e. Respondent No. 3, vide cover note No. 238732/734355/734356/734357 dated 2.12.2009 and Opposite Party No. 2 had also taken Insurance Cover from United India Insurance Co. Ltd. for indemnifying the Complainant in respect of any claims awarded to the third party in respect of any liability and therefore, the Complainant was not entitled to claim any compensation from Respondent No. 1.Counsel for Respondent No. 2 contended that due to the aforementioned Insurance Policies, the Complainant is not entitled to claim any compensation from Respondent No. 2. Counsel for Respondent No. 2 also contended that Complaint was not maintainable, as the Complainant had no locus standi to file the Complaint and that the Complaint did not disclose a genuine cause of action.9. The main contention of Counsel for Respondent No. 3 was that under the Insurance policy terms and conditions liability is covered only when cylinders from the insured’s premises are in course of being carried for installation in the premises of the insured’s customers or whilst such empty cylinders are in the course of being carried in the premises of the insured customers or if the incident happens at the time of installation of gas cylinder. It was also contended by Counsel for Respondent No. 3 that no claim was lodged by the Complainant with Respondent No. 3 and only the insured, i.e. Respondent No. 1 had lodged a claim with Respondent No. 3.10. Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 contended that the Complaint was not maintainable and that the Complainant had no locus standi to file the Complaint. They also contended that the Complaint does not disclose any cause of action. No grounds, however, had been taken to support the said contentions. Respondent No. 2 is the company that manufactures Gas Cylinders and Respondent No. 1 is a Gas Agency which undertakes distribution of the Gas Cylinders manufactured by Respondent No. 2. Section 2(o) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 which defines the term “Service”, includes within its ambit “supply of electrical or other energy ”. Goods and services provided by Gas Companies and their distributers certainly fall within the scope of “Service” as contemplated by the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Furthermore, the Complainant in the present case had availed the services of Respondent Nos. 1 and 2 for personal consumption and not for any commercial purpose. I, therefore, find no merit in the contention that the Complainant had no locus standi to file the Complaint or that the Complaint is not maintainable. I also do not find merit in the contention that the Complaint did not disclose any cause of action. The cause of action in the present case clearly arose on the day of incident, when Gas Cylinders burst, in which they deal.11. Important issue involved in the matter is whether the Gas cylinder was defective and had leaked, which caused the fire. The District Forum had also observed that even if there was leakage in the gas cylinder, there must be some external source of ignition for fire to occur. The Complainant has not provided any evidence to substantiate her claim that the leakage was caused due to defect in the cylinder. The only document submitted by Complainant in support of her contention was the Surveyor’s Report, which merely stated that “the insured has informed that due to burst of LPG cylinder in the consumer premises, fire took place as confirmed by Fire Brigade report & DDR also”. The Surveyor’s Report, however, does not disclose the possible reason for bursting of Gas Cylinder and whether there was any defect in the cylinder. The Fire Brigade Report also merely stated the “ Supposed Cause of Fire” as “Leakage of gas cylinder”. It, however, does not attribute the leakage due to any defect in the gas cylinders. There is nothing in the Surveyor’s Report, the Police Report or the Fire Brigade Report to show that there was a defect in the Gas Cylinders delivered to the Complainant. In the absence of strict proof that there was a defect in the Gas Cylinders, Respondent No. 1 and Respondent No. 2 cannot be held liable for deficiency in service. The District Forum has rightly observed that “It might be possible fire occurred in the house due to some other reason and because of fire cylinder burst and exaggerated the fire. Complainant totally failed to discharge her onus by any cogent believable evidence to establish that cylinder was defective and service of opposite parties deficient.” The State Commission also dismissed the Appeal filed by the Complainant/Petitioner.12. Jurisdiction of this Commission under Section 21(b) is very limited. This Commission is not required to re-appreciate and reassess the evidences and reach to its own conclusion. The Court can intervene only when the petitioner succeeds in showing that the Fora below has wrongly exercised its jurisdiction or there is a miscarriage of justice. It was so held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Mrs. Rubi (Chandra) Dutta v. M/s. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., II (2011) CPJ 19 (SC)=IV (2011) SLT 303=(2011) 11 SCC 269, has held as under:“13. Also, it is to be noted that the revisional powers of the National Commission are derived from Section 21(b) of the Act, under which the said power can be exercised only if there is some prima facie jurisdictional error appearing in the impugned order, and only then, may the same be set aside. In our considered opinion there was no jurisdictional error or miscarriage of justice, which could have warranted the National Commission to have taken a different view than what was taken by the two Forums. The decision of the National Commission rests not on the basis of some legal principle that was ignored by the Courts below, but on a different (a

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nd in our opinion, an erroneous) interpretation of the same set of facts. This is not the manner in which revisional powers should be invoked. In this view of the matter, we are of the considered opinion that the jurisdiction conferred on the National Commission under Section 21(b) of the Act has been transgressed. It was not a case where such a view could have been taken by setting aside the concurrent findings of two Fora.”13. Same principle has been reiterated by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Lourdes Society Snehanjali Girls Hostel and Ors. v. H & R Johnson (India) Ltd. and Ors., III (2016) CPJ 27 (SC)=VI (2016) SLT 86=(2016) 8 SCC 286. wherein Hon’ble Supreme Court has held as under:“23. The National Commission has to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it only if the State Commission or the District Forum has failed to exercise their jurisdiction or exercised when the same was not vested in their or exceeded their jurisdiction by acting illegally or with material irregularity. In the instant case, the National Commission has certainly exceeded its jurisdiction by setting aside the concurrent finding of fact recorded in the order passed by the State Commission which is based upon valid and cogent reasons.”14. I see no reason to disagree with the concurrent findings of both the Fora below. There is no infirmity or illegality in the impugned order, warranting interference under Section 21 (b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Revision Petition is therefore dismissed with no order as to costs.Petition dismissed.
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