Oral Order: (B.N. Rao Nalla, President)
1) This is an appeal filed by the Opposite party aggrieved by the orders dated 25.04.2014 of the District Forum, Rangareddy made in C.C.No.220 of 2013, allowing the complaint of Complainant in part directing the Opposite party to pay to the Complainant an amount of Rs.50,000/- which shall include the cost of the damaged TV set, damage caused to the ceiling and wall and also compensation for mental agony and further directing to pay costs of Rs.2000/- to the Complainant.
2) For the sake of convenience, the parties are described as arrayed in the complaint.
3) The case of the complainant, in brief, is that the complainant was one of the customer of Opposite party obtained cable-net connection on 15.04.2010 and was regularly paying the monthly bills. On 24.08.2013 at about 2-00 hours of night, while the Complainant and his family members were sleeping in their house, spurt came out from the cable with big sound and caught fire and flames ensued. Immediately Complainant and his family members woke up and disconnected the main electric supply and extinguished flames by pouring water. On the next day i.e., 25.08.2013 at about 6-48 a.m. complainant called the opposite party over phone and explained the happening of event, upon which, the personnel of OP visited his house at 7-30 a.m. and left the house without stating anything. Thereafter, the Complainant called an electrician who verified and informed that there is no fault in electric supply but the incident occasioned only due to faulty cable network of OP, which was communicated to the OP.
4) On the same day i.e., 25.08.2013 the Complainant called the Samsung call centre and explained the incident vide complaint No.4158079138. On 26.8.2013 at morning hours, the company people of Samsung visited his house, inspected the TV set and informed that there is no fault in the TV but the incident took place only due to faulty cable connection and the same was broached to the attendant of the OP by the Samsung personnel. Complainant issued a notice to the OP on 27.08.2013 which they refused to receive and got returned. On account of above fire incident, the LCD TV of Samsung make, worth Rs.50,000/- of the Complainant was completely damaged and also the false ceiling and walls were damaged, which is estimated at Rs.15,000/-. And from 25.08.2013, the Complainant could not attend his regular avocation and thereby put to loss of Rs.30,000/-. The above incident caused mental shock and agony to himself and his family members and they were mentally disturbed and lost the amusement of not viewing the TV, for which OP is solely responsible.
5) The OP committed default in providing good and proper service having failed to maintain the proper cable wire which amounts to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice. Hence filed the complaint praying to direct the OP to pay a sum of Rs.50,000/- towards cost of the Samsung LCD TV; Rs.15,000/- towards damage caused to ceiling and walls of the house; Rs.30,000/- towards loss of pay sustained by the Complainant; Rs.1,00,000/- towards compensation for pain, suffering and mental agony and costs of Rs.10,000/-.
6) Opposite party resisted the claim on the ground that complaint is not maintainable in law or on facts. It is providing cable service at Miyapur and other areas since last 06 years and has more than 120 cable connections in the colony including the Complainant. On failure to pay the monthly cable charges, the OP disconnected the service of Complainant on 01.07.2013. After numerous reminders, the Complainant paid the due amount of Rs.150/- on 13.08.2013. Complainant was not the consumer as on the date of alleged occurrence of incident, knowing fully well, filed the complaint with a concocted story to extract money from it.
7) Opposite party further contended that TV cables never carry or transmit electricity as such, having a short circuit or shock is impossible, unfounded and unheard of. If it assured to be true that current is actually passing through cable wire, even after main switch is put off, the Complainant might have experienced shock and electrocution on pouring the water, which is not the case at all. This amply proves that no current passes through cable wire.
8) No notice is received by the Opposite party and had it received any such notice as alleged, it definitely would have given reply. There arose no cause of action and there is no deficiency of service on its part. Hence prayed to dismiss the complaint with costs.
9) During the course of enquiry before the District Forum, in order to prove his case, the complainant filed his evidence affidavit and got marked Exs.A1 to A7 and on behalf of Opposite party, the affidavit of one Mr.K.S.Prasad was filed and marked no documents. Both got filed written arguments on their behalf.
10) The District Forum after considering the material available on record, allowed the complaint in part, as stated in paragraph No.1 supra.
11) Aggrieved by the said order, the Opposite party as Appellant preferred this appeal stating that the Forum below erred in awarding compensation without attributing any negligence on its part. And for any fluctuations in electricity supply, it is the Electricity Department which may be held liable and not the appellant under the Act. The cable service of the Respondent was disconnected on 01.07.2013 i.e., prior to the occurrence of the alleged incident. Forum below failed to see that the Respondent /Complainant did not switch off the TV before going to sleep, which paved the way for burning of wire and eruption of short circuit. The compensation awarded by the District Forum is far excessive and disproportionate to the loss alleged to have sustained by the Respondent/complainant. Hence, prayed to set aside the order and consequently dismiss the complaint with costs.
12) The point that arises for consideration is whether the impugned order as passed by the District Forum suffers from any error or irregularity or whether it is liable to be set aside, modified or interfered with, in any manner? To what relief ?
13) It is not in dispute that the television set of the Respondent/Complainant was badly damaged in the short-circuit which occasioned on 24.08.2013 and the false ceiling was also damaged, for which, the Respondent/Complainant claimed an amount of Rs.50,000/- towards cost of the television set; Rs.15,000/- towards damage to ceiling and walls and Rs.30,000/- towards loss of pay occasioned to him and compensation of Rs.1,00,000/- and costs of Rs.10,000/-. To establish that the Respondent is the customer of Appellant, he had exhibited altogether seven documents. Ex.A1 is the membership card, Ex.A2 are three cash receipts showing payment of monthly subscription charges to the Appellant, Ex.A3 are two receipts showing purchase of damaged television, Ex.A4 is the returned postal cover, Ex.A5 is the postal receipt of notice, Ex.A6 are the photographs showing damage of television set and small portion of false ceiling. Ex.A7 is the copy of representation made by the Respondent to the Appellant.
14) On the other hand, the Appellant would contend that the alleged short-circuit might have taken place on account of own negligence of the Respondent who failed to switch off the television set and that as on the date of incident, the Respondent was not at all his customer as no subscription was paid by then. To disprove the same, the Respondent did not bring on record any piece of evidence. As stated supra, Ex.A1 and A2 are the membership card and three cash receipts. A perusal of Ex.A1 would go to show that the Respondent is a customer of the Appellant from 15.04.2010 and paying the monthly subscription charges. Ex.A2 are three cash receipts. A perusal of the same would go to show that receipt bearing No.2515, dated 16.06.2013 for Rs.150/- pertains to month of April; receipt bearing No.2795, dated 20.07.2013 for Rs.150/- pertains to month of May and receipt bearing No.3031, dated 13.08.2013 for Rs.150/- pertains to month of June. As contended by the Appellant, no charges are paid by the Respondent for the month of July and August so as to claim any compensation as a customer of Appellant on account of short-circuit occasioned on 24.08.2013.
15) It is the case of the Respondent that the electricity department personnel visited his house and informed that there is no defect in the electricity power supply and the technicians of Samsung company opined that there is no defect in the television set. Except asserting the said contention, nothing is brought on record to that effect. Even the Respondent failed to examine any technical expert to fasten the liability on the Appellant to contend that the short-circuit took place due to improper maintenance of cable wires or that it occasioned on account of negligence on the part of the Appellant. Prima facie, it is obligatory on the part of the Respondent to establish that he had availed the services of the Appellant by paying appropriate consideration, without which, no consumer dispute would arise. Without there being any evidence to that effect, the contention of Respondent cannot be accepted. Firstly, the Respondent had to establish that he had paid the subscription charges for the month of August 2013 to the Appellant and later that the short-circuit which occasioned on 24.08.2013 took place due to the negligence on the part of the Appellant in improper ma
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intenance of cable wires. He also failed to establish through an expert that the improper maintenance of cable wire resulted in short-circuit, without which, no liability can be fastened on the Appellant. Just to make unjust enrichment, the Respondent seems to have filed the complaint which is under challenge in this appeal. The reasons assigned by the forum below in allowing the complaint of Complainant is not convincing and we do not accept the same. 16) We do not see any reason as to why the contention of the Appellant shall not be accepted. The forum below failed to consider the above aspects in the impugned order resulting in allowing the complaint of Complainant in part. 17) In the above facts and circumstances, the order of the District Forum is set aside and the point framed for consideration in paragraph No.12, supra, is answered accordingly. 18) In the result, the appeal is allowed and the order of the District Forum dated 25.04.2014 passed in C.C.No.220/2013 is set aside but in the circumstances no costs.