K.B. Gawali, Member:
1. This appeal is preferred by original opponent No.1 against the judgment and order dated 9.12.2009 passed by District Consumer Forum Osmanabad in C.C.no.246/2009 whereby complaint is partly allowed holding appellant as liable for deficiency in service. Respondent Nos.1, 2 & 3 are the original complainants. For better understanding, appellant which is seed producing company is hereinafter termed as "opponent seed company", respondent No.1 is the original complainant hereinafter termed as complainant, respondent No.2 is the dealer of seed as produced by opponent seed company is hereinafter termed as "opponent dealer" and respondent No.3 who is Agriculture Development Officer is hereinafter termed as "opponent agriculture officer".
2. Brief facts leading to the present appeal are that, the complainant is a farmer having land admeasuring 94 R from Gut No.89 of village Katri, Tq.Tuljapur. That, in order to take the crop of cluster bean in his land he had purchased seed of cluster bean of the variety of "Hybrid Cluster Bean Gold-601" as produced by opponent seed company from opponent dealer on 23.1.2009. Quantity of seed purchased was 4 bags each containing 50 gms of seed for the total amount of Rs.240/- and lot number of seed was 08-15.2002(31902). That, after plantation of said seed, complainant had observed that there was no proper growth of the said seed and that pods were not formed sufficiently. Hence filed complaint to the Agricultural Officer, Z.P. Osmanabad by his application dated 21.3.2009. That, accordingly on 29.3.2009 Dist.Agriculture Officer along with other members of District Seeds Grievance Committee visited the complainant's field on 29.3.2009 along with representative of opponent seed company and inspected the crop. That, as per report submitted by said Committee there was 100% adulteration in the said seed. Said report is signed by representative of opponent Seed Company. Complainant contended that due to said adulterated seed he could not get expected yield from the said crop and had to sustain loss of expected income Rs.1,01,500/-. He therefore filed complaint before the District Consumer Forum seeking direction to the opponent seed company and opponent dealer to pay him jointly and severally compensation of Rs.1,01,500/- and also Rs.10,000/- towards mental harassment and Rs.500/- cost of the complaint along with interest @ 12% p.a. from 23.1.2009.
3. Opponent seed company appeared before the Forum and by way of written version resisted the claim of complainant. It is totally denied that seeds were defective. Even the spot inspection report conducted by Dist.Seed Grievance Committee is also denied. When the conclusion drawn by the Committee regarding 100% adulteration of the seed is based on same inspection, there was no scientific base for the same. It was contended that it had already tested said seeds and after confirming that it had good genetic purity and other qualities was brought in the market for sell. It was also contended that most of the farmers have purchased the same seed and there was no complaint of anyone regarding any defects in the said seed. It was thus contended that complaint being baseless be dismissed with compensatory cost of Rs.10,000/-.
4. District Consumer Forum after considering evidence on record as produced by both the parties and after hearing them, partly allowed the complaint and directed opponent seed company by discharging from liability the opponent dealer to pay compensation of Rs.20,000/- to be paid within 30 days and also Rs.500/- as cost of the complaint.
5. It is observed by District Consumer Forum that as per the Dist.Seeds Grievance Committee report there is 100% adulteration in the seed due to which there was loss of expected income from said crop. It is further held by District Consumer Forum that at the time of inspection of said crop by District Seed Committee the representative of opponent seed company namely Shri.S.B.Jankar was also present and has signed the said report. That, the said representative has not challenged the said report or his signature on the same. Therefore it has concluded that company representative Shri.Jankar has accepted the report and it is on the basis of said report District Consumer Forum concluded that seeds were defective and accordingly held opponent seed company as liable for deficiency in service .
6. As regard quantum of compensation as claimed by complainant it has observed that there is no any cogent evidence to establish actual loss and therefore considering that there was adulteration in the seed and therefore complainant cannot get the expected income. It is on the basis of this observation District Consumer Forum has awarded lump-sum compensation of Rs.20,000/- towards alleged defects in the seeds.
7. Aggrieved by the said judgment and order present appeal is filed in this Commission which came to be finally heard on 11.7.2014.
8. Adv.Tipole for opponent seed company was present, none for respondent No.1 present although Shri.P.M.Kulkarni and Adv.Rahul Joshi had appeared on earlier date. Therefore respondent is already proceeded exparte. Adv.Tipole has submitted his written notes of argument on the earlier date. We heard him finally on 11.7.2014 and appeal was reserved for judgment and order.
9. Learned counsel Shri.Tipole submitted that as per pamphlet/brochure published by opponent seed company regarding procedure of plantation of the those seeds which has been produced on record by complainant himself, seed required per acre was 10 Kg.. However, in the present case complainant has alleged to have sown 1 Kg in 35 gunthas i.e. almost 1 acre. Therefore he contended that complainant has not followed the guidelines given by opponent seed company. He further contended that opponent seed company has cross examined concern officer of the Z.P. who was present at the time of inspection of the crop. That, in reply to the question No.14 regarding quality of said seed, the concern officer replied that he did know about quality of seed. He has also contended that complainants have not produced affidavit of those farmers who were present at the time of spot inspection. That, said Committee just by inspection of crop has concluded that there was 100% adulteration of the seed but no any laboratory test of those seeds has been done. Therefore said report has hardly any evidentiary value. He further submitted that as per circular issued by Government all the members of District Consumer Forum have to sign the panchanama. However, in the present case, only President and Secretary of the said committee have signed. It is also contended that there was no entry about the said crop of cluster bean as entered in the 7/12 record which is required to be entered in every year. Thus considering all these grounds he contended that District Consumer Forum relying on such vague report of Dist.Seeds Grievance Committee has concluded that seeds were defective and accordingly wrongly held opponent seed company as liable for deficiency in service . He therefore requested to allow the appeal by setting aside the impugned judgment and order.
10. We have carefully gone through the papers containing copy of complaint , written version filed by opponent seed company, District Seeds Grievance Committee report, 7/12 record, pamphlet as published by Green Gold Seed company i.e. opponent seed company, evidence produced by both side, impugned judgment and order, appeal memo and written notes of argument as submitted by counsel for appellant.
11. Crux of the matter is, whether seeds of cluster bean as purchased by complainant from the opponent dealer produced by opponent seed company has been proved as defective?. District Consumer Forum has relied upon Dist.Seed Grievance Committee report wherein it is concluded that seeds were 100% adulterated and therefore complainant could not get expected income. However, it is observed that District Seed Grievance Committee has not followed guideline issued by Government vide circular dated 26.10.1998 regarding procedure to be followed to arrive at the conclusion about adulteration. As per guidelines Committee has to select randomly plots from the said crop and then count the number of plants and thereafter to verify the number of plants which are not of the quality of the seeds purchased and other plants which are belonging to the variety seeds purchased. However, in the present case no such random sampling regarding selection of plots and counting the plants is appears to have been done. Committee has vaguely made remark at the end that there was 100% adulteration and complainant would get less expected yield. It is further to be noted that as pointed out by learned counsel Shri.Tipole in the appeal that as per guidelines issued by opponent seed company there is requirement of 10 Kg. seed for 1 acre but complainant has sown only 1 Kg. of seeds in 35 gunthas i.e. almost 1 acre. Therefore whatever per acre income i.e. 40 quintals which is standard per acre yield of cluster bean, cannot be accepted. Because this 1 Kg. of seed is expected to occupy only 4 gunthas of land. Therefore this may be one of the main reasons for not getting expected yield of 40 quintals per acre. Therefore this Dist.Seed Grievance Committee report appears to be vague and cannot be relied on for arriving at the conclusion about defective seeds.
12. In fact opponent seed company has submitted seed testing report dated 22.12.2008 from its own laboratory is also on record. As per which purity of the seed is 98%. It is only after the testing of the seed and confirming good quality of seed brought in the market for selling as submitted by learned counsel Shri.Tipole. It is also worth to be noted that there is no entry of this crop in 7/12 record of
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the relevant year. We are therefore of the opinion that report of District Seed Grievance Committee is vague and hence cannot be taken as the basis of the defective seeds. District Consumer Forum has not properly appreciated evidence and contention of the opponent seed company and relying solely on the said report has concluded that seeds were defective and erroneously passed the impugned judgment and order holding opponent seed company as liable for deficiency in service. In fact it is the complainant who has already admitted to have received some yield from said crop but he has not given details that how much quantity he could get from the said crop. Thus we are left with no option to quash and set aside the impugned judgment and order by allowing appeal. 13. In the result, we pass the following order. ORDER 1. Appeal is allowed. 2. The impugned judgment and order is hereby quashed and set aside. 3. Complaint stands dismissed. 4. No order as to cost. 5. Copies of the judgment be supplied to both the parties.