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Union of India Thr. General Manager, Northern Railway v/s Medical Systems & Services Through Its Partner V.K. Monga

    Revision Petition No. 492 of 2007 in Appeal No. 783 of 2006

    Decided On, 03 November 2011

    At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC


    For the Petitioner: Rajeshwar Singh, Advocate. For the Respondent: Nemo.

Judgment Text

Anupam Dasgupta, Presiding Member:

1. This revision petition is directed against the order dated 3.11.2006 of the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Delhi (in short, ‘the State Commission’) in First Appeal No. 783 of 2006. By this order, the State Commission dismissed the appeal of the petitioner and affirmed the order dated 24.4.2006 of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (Central), Kashmere Gate, Delhi (in short, ‘the District Forum’) in complaint case No. 310 of 2004.

2. The respondent was the complainant before the District Forum and alleged that the opposite party - OP (petitioner herein) failed to deliver the consignment of goods booked by the complainant on 7.7.2004. Though the complainant lodged a claim demanding refund of the value of the goods (Rs. 30,375), the OP issued a cheque for Rs. 914 which the complainant accepted under protest. The complaint was opposed by the OP/petitioner on the ground that the dispute was in the nature of a railway claim and the Consumer Fora established under he provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (in short, ‘the Act’) had no jurisdiction to adjudicate such claims in view of the provisions of Sections 13, 15 and 28 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987. This plea of the OP/petitioner, however, dismissed by the District Forum as well as the State Commission, the latter holding that by virtue of provisions of Section 3 of the Act provided for an additional remedy which could be availed of by any consumer.

3. I have heard Mr. Rajeshwar Singh, learned Counsel for the petitioner. Though a responsible representative of the respondent/complainant was present before this Commission on 6.7.2011 when the date of 19.10.2011 was given for final hearing, there was no representation on behalf of the respondent/complainant on 19.10.2011. Hence, the respondent is being proceeded against ex parte in these proceedings.

4. Mr. Singh has drawn attention specifically to the provisions of Sections 13 and 15 which cover the jurisdiction of Railway Claims Tribunals established under the Railway Claims Tribunal Act, 1987. These sections read as under:

'13. Jurisdiction, powers and authority of Claims Tribunal-(i) The claims Tribunal shall exercise, on and from the appointed day, all such jurisdiction, powers and authority as were exercisable immediately before that day by any Civil Court or a Claims Commissioner appointed under the provisions of the Railways Act-

(a) Relating to the responsibility of the railway administrations as carriers under Chapter VII of the Railways Act in respect of claims for-

(i) Compensation for loss, destruction, damage, deterioration or non-delivery of animals or goods entrusted to a railway administration for carriage by railway;

(ii) Compensation payable under Section 82-A of the Railways Act or the rules made thereunder; and

(b) In respect of claims for refund of fares or part thereof or for refund of any freight paid in respect of animals or goods entrusted to a railway administration to be carried by railway.

[(1A) The claims Tribunal shall also exercise on and from the date of commencement of the provisions of Section 124-A of the Railways Act, 1989 (24 of 1989) all such jurisdiction, powers and authority as were exercisable immediately before that date by any Civil Court in respect of claims for compensation now payable by the railway administration under Section 124-A of the said Act or the rules made thereunder].

(2) The provisions of the [Railways Act, 1989 (24 of 1989)] and the rules made thereunder shall so far as may be applicable to the enquiring into or determining any claims by the Claim Tribunal under this Act.

15. Bar of jurisdiction - On and from the appointed day, no Court or other authority shall have, or be entitled to, exercise any jurisdiction, powers or authority in relation to the matters referred to in [Sub-sections (1) and (1-A)] of Section 13.'

5. It is quite clear that the case of the complainant would be covered by provisions of Section 13(1)(a)(i) as the allegation was non-delivery of the goods that it had booked on 7.7.2004. Thus, the matter would be squarely within the jurisdiction of competent Railway Claims Tribunal. Further, by virtue of Section 15 of the Railway Claims Tribunal Act neither a Court not any other authority would have jurisdiction in relation to such claims. This would clearly bar the ju

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risdiction of the Consumer Fora from entertaining the complaints involving such claims. This view has also been upheld by a Bench of this Commission in its order dated 7.9.2009 in the case of General Manager (Commercial), Northern Railway v. M/s. Symphony Marketing Pvt. Ltd. [Revision Petition No. 346 of 2009]. 6. In conclusion, the revision petition is allowed and the orders passed by the Fora below are set aside. Parties are left to bear their own costs. Revision Petition allowed.