K.B. Gawali, Member:
1. This appeal is preferred by the original opponent No.1 which is a seed producing company against the judgment and order dated 30.05.2007 passed by the District Consumer Forum, Aurangabad in consumer complaint No.334/2005, whereby the complaint is partly allowed holding the appellant as liable to pay the compensation. The Respondent No.1 is the original complainant (hereinafter termed as 'complainant'), whereas Respondent No.2 is the original opponent No.2 and is a dealer of the seeds. (herein after termed as the 'dealer')
2. The brief facts leading to the present appeal are that, the complainant had filed a complaint before District Forum against the appellant and Respondent No.2 i.e. dealer regarding defective seeds of onion. It is the case of the complainant that he is a farmer and had purchased 10 bags each containing 500 gms of onion seed of the variety of ‘Puna Fursungi’ on 17.10.2004 from the dealer which are produced by the appellant. That, he first developed the seeds into saplings and thereafter planted those saplings in one acre of his land from Gut No.52 and in another one acre of land from Gut No.53 belonging to one Smt. Pushpabai Shivaji Kalaskar which complainant had taken on batai basis. That, before plantation of the said sapling of the onion he had properly prepared both the lands and after plantation, proper watering and application of fertilizers and insecticides etc was done as per the requirement. That, there was good growth of the plants. However when the plants of onion had grown upto two feet, there was a formation of bolting and therefore alleging that the seeds were defective, he filed complaint to the Taluka Agricultural Officer, Panchayat Samiti, Gangapur on 23.03.2004 and also a copy of said complaint was given to the District Agricultural Officer. That, in response to his complaint application the Taluka Agricultural Officer, P.S. Gangapur visited the field of the complainant on 04.04.2005 and prepared the report. That, the District Seed Committee also visited the complainant’s field on 12.05.2005 and prepared the panchanama and report of its inspection of the crop. That, as per the District Seed Committee’s report there were formation of bolting to the extent of 40 – 50 % and therefore it was concluded by the committee that due to the said bolting there would be loss in income from the said crop. That, considering the per acre expected yield @150/- quintals i.e. 300 quintals for two acres and income @ market rate of Rs.600/- per quintal to the extent of Rs.1,80,000/-, he had issued legal notice to the appellant and the dealer on 11.07.2005 and demanded the compensation towards loss of his income. However his notice was neglected and therefore he filed complaint before District Forum seeking direction to the appellant as well as dealer to pay him the compensation of Rs. 3,00,000/- towards loss of income.
3. The appellant appeared before the Forum and contested the claim by way of its written version. The appellant has denied entire allegations made by the complainant. It was contended that the District Seed Committee did not intimate the appellant about the date and time of the spot inspection and therefore the report of the District Seed Committee was not binding on the appellant. It was further submitted that the formation of bolting was not due to the seeds but due to other Agro climatic conditions. It was also pointed out that there was a discrepancy in the quantity of seeds said to have been purchased by the complainant. The complainant in his complaint at one place has mentioned that he had purchased 10 bags of onion seeds, whereas in next paraghraph he has mentioned that only 2 bags of seeds were purchased. It was also contended that the area shown under onion in 7/12 record has also been tampered. Another ground in appeal as taken by the appellant is that the complainant did not inform anything about the alleged formation of bolting and directly approached to the District Seed Committee. It was also submitted that there was a discrepancy in compensation demanded i.e. in the legal notice, the compensation is demanded at Rs. 1,00,000/-, whereas in the complaint it is claimed as Rs.3,00,000/-. Thus on these grounds the appellant has contended that the complaint is false and baseless and no deficiency is proved in terms of defective seeds against the appellant. Hence, submitted to dismiss the complaint.
4. District Forum after going through the record and hearing the parties has partly allowed the complaint and directed the appellant to pay to the complainant compensation of Rs.50,000/- along with Rs.2000/- as cost of the complaint within a period of six weeks from receipt of order. It is held by District Forum that as per the spot inspection report, Agricultural Officer, P.S. Gangapur and the report of the District Seed Committee, there is a clear conclusion regarding defective seeds of onion as produced by appellant seed company and sold by the respondent No.2 i.e. dealer and therefore the complainant had to bear the loss in yield of onion at about 60%. Thus on the basis of these reports it has concluded that there is a deficiency in service on the part of appellant seed company and accordingly held the appellant liable to pay the compensation as per impugned judgment and order. There is nothing on record whether the respondent No.2 had appeared before Forum and filed the say etc.
5. Aggrieved by the said judgment and order the present appeal is filed by the original opponent No.1 i.e. seed company. This appeal came to be finally heard on 28.10.2013. Adv. Shri. O. S. Tipole was present for the appellant, whereas Adv. Shri. R. S. Bihani was present for Respondent No.1. The Respondent No.2 did not appear though served and hence he was proceeded exparte. The learned counsel for the appellant as well as respondent has submitted their written notes of arguments. We also heard the learned counsel of the parties finally and the appeal was adjourned for judgment and order.
6. The learned counsel Shri. O. S. Tipole, for the appellant has made the same averments as made by the appellant seed company in its written version. In support of his contention learned counsel Shri. Tipole relied on following two judgments and orders:
i. The judgment and order dated 23.07.2007 passed by this Commission at Mumbai in F.A. No. 3643/2006 in case of Manager, Jindal Traders Division Vs. Arun Madhukar Garge & Ors.
ii. The judgment and order dated 30.08.2010 passed by this Commission, Mumbai in F.A. No. 1475/2007- Mahyco Seeds Limited, Vs. Hirkant Nagnath Wadekar & Ors.
7. On the other hand, the learned counsel Shri. Bihani for the respondent submitted that the appellant seed company had not disputed the purchase of onion seeds from its dealer i.e. respondent No.2. He further contended that as per the report of the Taluka Agricultural Officer it has been established that the complainant had planted onion crop in two acres of land and further as per the report of District Seed Committee it is proved that there was a formation of bolting due to which the complainant had to sustain the loss of about 70% of the expected yield of onion crop. He further contended that as per the District Committee’s report the complainant had to sustain the loss of income from the said crop at Rs. 1,36,000/-. However, the District Forum has awarded compensation only to the extent of Rs.50,000/-. But due to poor economic condition the complainant could not come in appeal for enhancement of compensation. He therefore contended that the impugned judgment and order passed by the District Forum be confirmed by dismissing the present complaint.
8. We have carefully gone through the record as well as written arguments as submitted by both rival parties. The main question is, whether the impugned judgment and order passed by the District Forum needs our intervention.
9. We have to verify the grounds on the basis of which the appellant has challenged the impugned judgment and order. There are following main grounds of challenge which are followed by our observations:
i) That, the District Agricultural Officer has prepared the spot panchanama of the crop behind the back of the appellant seed company and the same is also doubtful. In this regard it is observed that the District Agricultural Officer has not informed to the appellant seed company which is required as per Government Circular dated 26.10.1991. It is therefore evident that the spot inspection dated 12.04.2005 carried out by the District Seed Committee is behind the back of appellant Seed Company. It is observed from the report submitted by the District Agricultural Officer about the spot inspection of the said crop, that there is a mention of the presency of appellant seed company and two other members of the District Seed Committee. But it is signed only by the District Agricultural Officer and in respect of two members and companies representative there is only endorsement as 'signed'. Thus, this report appears to be doubtful and to have been managed by the complainant in conspiracy with the District Agricultural Officer.
ii) That, the complainant has tampered the entries in 7/12 record regarding the area under the said crop. As regards this point, there is a clear cut overwriting over the area of the said onion crop as shown in the 7/12 extract which is produced on record. This overwriting in area under the crop is doubtful about the genuineness of the claim of the complainant.
iii. In the complaint, there are contradictions about quantity of seeds purchased. This contradiction is also clear. In para-2 of the complaint, the complainant stated that he has purchased 10 bags of onion seeds through receipt No. 5530 dated 17.10.2004. However in para-4 of his complaint it is mentioned that he had purchased only two bags. This contradiction also supports the doubt about the complainants claim.
iv. There is no uniformity in the quantum of compensation. The perusal of notice dated 11.07.2005 issued by the appellant seed company and the complainant there is clear cut contradiction about quantum of loss alleged to have been caused due to defective seeds. In the notice the said loss is shown at Rs.1,00,000/-, whereas in complaint the same is claimed at Rs.3,00,000/-.
10. From the aforesaid facts and observations, we certainly find a good deal of substance in the grounds, on the basis of which the appellant seed company has ch
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allenged the appeal. It has not been proved that the formation of bolting was due to defective seeds. In fact, in the judgment and order of this Commission in case of- Manager, Jindal Traders Division Vs. Arun Madhukar Garge & Ors. (Supra) the Commission has observed that bolting is not the sole cause of quality of seeds, but it is the result of low temperature as well as high temperature. It is further observed that bolting is also developed when there is inadequate supply of nitrogen. Hence, it would not be proper to attribute the formation of alleged bolting to the quality of seeds as purchased by the complainant. The District Forum however has utterly failed to consider these grounds as raised by the appellant seed company in defending the complaint by way of its written version. The result is, the appellant succeeds. We have therefore no option but to quash and set aside the impugned judgment and order. Hence, the following order. ORDER 1. The appeal is allowed. 2. The impugned judgment and order passed by the District Forum is hereby quashed and set aside. 3. Complaint stands dismissed. 4. No order as to cost.