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The SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd., (Thru its Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director), Kolkata & Another v/s Dr. Dilip Damodar Rasal & Another

    First Appeal No.1340 of 2008 (In Consumer Complaint No.13 of 2007)
    Decided On, 30 June 2009
    At, Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Mumbai
    Mr. A.V. Patwardhan, Adv. @ Ms. Smita Gaidhani, Adv. for Appellants. Mr. U.B. Wavikar, Adv. for the Respondents.

Judgment Text
Oral Order:-

Per Shri S.R. Khanzode, Hon?ble Presiding Judicial Member

This appeal arises out of order/award dated 30/11/2007 passed in consumer complaint No.13/2007 Dr.Dilip Damodar Rasal & Anr. V/s. The Manager, SREI Infrastructure Finance Ltd. by the District Consumer Forum Nashik (?Forum below? in short).

It was a consumer complaint filed by respondents/org. complainants alleging that appellant No.2/org. O.P. was guilty of deficiency in service as much as fixed deposit of Rs.5 Lakhs which was kept for 60 months, was not refunded on demand. Complaint was allowed. It was an ex-parte proceeding. Thereafter, execution proceedings were taken. On receipt of notice of demand from the Revenue Official, for the first time as alleged by the appellants, they came to know about the impugned award some time in the month of July 2008. Thereafter, they have obtained a certified copy which was received on 03/10/2008 and then this appeal was filed on 14/10/2008. There is no separate application for condonation of delay is filed but narrating the facts recounted earlier, in the appeal memo itself it is submitted and prayed that the delay, if any, be condoned.

We heard Mr.A.V. Patwardhan, Advocate @ Ms.Smita Gaidhani, Advocate for appellants and Mr.U.B. Wavikar, Adv. for the respondents.

The limitation would start from the date of service of the impugned award as per provisions of Section 15 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (hereinafter referred as ?Act?). It is alleged by the appellants that they have not received any copy of the award. It is also alleged by the appellants that appellant No.1, which is the main Financial Company has its Corporate Office at Kolkata and not at Mumbai and at Mumbai there is only the Branch Office. Thus, in nutshell they claimed that in the consumer complaint their Organisation is not described and represented properly. We find substance in their submissions and as such find that there is no delay in filing appeal and if at all there is any delay found reknocking the time from the date of knowledge of the order in July 2008, it being unintentional and satisfactorily explained, we condone the delay in filing the appeal.

Coming to the merit of the appeal, it is observed in the impugned award that notice of the District Consumer Forum was sent to O.P. by registered post, but O.P. did not remain present and hence, proceeded ex-parte. In Appeal, O.P. also filed certified copy of the notice sent of the consumer complaint on 03/10/2007 and the postal acknowledgement receipt thereof. Notice was sent and served on O.P. who is appellant No.2 in this appeal. They ought to have remained present and contested the claim or should have brought it to the notice of the District Consumer Forum that their Head Office is at Kolkata i.e. appellant No.1 and which only deals with the transaction in question. Taking instructions from their principal office, they would have further informed about the nature of the dispute and as to how deposit is no more available since it was appropriated as per the agreement towards the loan dues. These are the substantial facts which need to be tendered in evidence under Section 13 of the Act. Considering the totality of the circumstances, we find it is desirable if this consumer complaint is settled after giving opportunity to both the sides to plead and prove their respective cases after tendering the evidence. Issue as to territorial jurisdiction also raised and which is a substantial issue to be considered. Prima-facie, there appears to be some merit in the grievance raised by the appellants on this count. Hence, we hold accordingly and pass the following order :-


1. Delay in filing appeal is condoned subject to payment of cost of Rs.5,000/- payable by the appellants to the respondents/org. complainants.<

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br /> 2. Appeal is allowed. Impugned order/award dated 30/11/2007 is set aside. 3. Matter is remitted back to the Forum below with a direction to hear and settle the dispute according to law keeping in mind the observations made in the body of this order. 4. As far as this appeal is concerned, there is no order as to costs. 5. Copies of the order be furnished to the parties.