These two revision petitions have been filed against the order dated 9.2.2016 passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, (in short ‘the State Commission’) in FA No. A.1241/2014 preferred by the complainant against the order dated 28.8.2014 of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Unit-I, Kolkata, (in short ‘the District Forum’) passed in Complaint Case No. CC/12/425.
2. Brief facts of the case are that the petitioner in RP No. 1317 of 2016 entered into an agreement with the opposite parties/petitioners in RP No. 663 of 2016 for obtaining visa to Canada for getting a job there. On 3.10.2002, contract of engagement was signed by the complainant with petitioner WWICS Ltd and the complainant paid a sum of Rs. 30,000 as professional fees. On 3.10.2002 another contract of engagement was signed by the complainant with GSBC, Dubai and paid a sum of US$ 700. On 4.7.2003, complainant requested to opposite party vide letter stating that he was no more interested in IELTS or TEF so his case was converted for Immigration/student ship/work permit in Canada and USA. On 25.11.2003, complainant’s case was submitted by the opposite party before the Canadian High Commission. On 18.11.2009, complainant was put in category of Gold package i.e. for ‘Placement Assistance Service’ and complainant paid a sum of Rs. 25,000 to opposite party and US$ 1000 to GSBC, Dubai. On 24.10.2010, the complainant went to Toronto, Canada. On 6.5.2011, he returned back to India from Toronto because no support was provided by GSBC as per the agreement and contract. Aggrieved by the actions of the opposite party, the complainant filed a consumer complaint before the District Forum. The complaint was resisted by the opposite party by filing written statement before the District Forum. The District Forum, vide order dated 28.8.2014 dismissed the complaint. On 10.12.2014, the complainant filed appeal before the State Commission, West Bengal. The State Commission vide its order dated 9.2.2016 passed the following order:
“That the appeal be and the same is allowed. The Respondent/OP shall refund the sum of Rs. 25,000 and INR equivalent of USD 1,000 (as on 27.11.2009), being the date of receipt issued). The Respondent shall also pay a sum of Rs. 3,00,000 as compensation for harassment and mental agony as well as for deficiency in service and unfair trade practice, apart from payment of cost of Rs. 5,000 . The entire amount shall be paid by the Respondent within a period of 40 days from the date of this order, failing which interest @10% p.a. shall accrue on the entire amount till full realization. The impugned order is set aside and the complaint stands allowed in part.”
3. Hence the present revision petition No. 663 of 2016 by the opposite parties. The complainant has also filed revision petition No. 1317 of 2016.
4. Heard the learned Counsel for both the parties and perused the record. The parties shall be identified as complainant and the opposite parties.
5. The learned Counsel for opposite parties stated that the opposite parties have totally complied with their responsibility under the agreement signed with the complainant. The major grievance of the complainant is that the complainant did not get the post arrival services after reaching Canada as per the agreement. For post arrival support, the contract/agreement was signed with GSBC and that is a different company registered in a foreign country and the amount of US$ 1,000 was paid to that company. The opposite parties cannot be held responsible for any deficiency on the part of GSBC if any. The learned Counsel further stated that the complainant has not made GSBC a party in present complaint case. The State Commission has wrongly observed that GSBC Company is an associate company of the opposite parties. Both companies are separately registered. They have been registered in different countries and the management is also different. So, it is incorrect to say that one company is an associate company of the other. The complainant ultimately got the visa in 2010 and he went to Canada. But, after sometime, complainant came back to India and alleged deficiency in post arrival services. First of all, whatever deficiencies have been mentioned in the complaint, most of them were not part of the agreement that was signed with GSBC and therefore, the complaint is based on false allegations. The complainant did not remain in Canada for a long time and therefore, on the basis of short stay deficiencies cannot be alleged. The State Commission has ordered refund of Rs. 25,000 along with US$1,000 and a compensation of Rs. 3,00,000. When the opposite parties have fulfilled all its obligations under the agreement, order of refund and compensation is totally unjustified. Learned Counsel for the opposite parties further stated that the complaint was highly time barred as the complainant had moved the application in the year 2003 itself for refund stating that the complainant was not interested in going to Canada. No action was taken on that application as papers for visa were being submitted to the Canadian High Commission. The complaint has been filed in the year 2012. Thus, there is a delay of about 9 years in filing the complaint.
6. On the other hand, learned Counsel for the complainant stated that after coming from Canada in the year 2011, the complaint has been filed in the year 2012. So, there is no delay in filing the complaint. The basic complaint is in respect of the post arrival services in Canada for which the opposite parties also are responsible. The complainant has signed the agreement with GSBC only on the advice of the opposite parties and that was a part of the whole package. Originally Rs. 30,000 and US$ 700 was paid to the opposite parties and later on Rs. 25,000 and US$ 1,000 was paid in November, 2009 whereby the category of complainant was changed to Gold Package. From the name itself it is clear that it was a complete package for immigration services in India as well as post arrival services in Canada. The learned Counsel submitted that no person met the complainant on arrival, no transport service was provided, no accommodation was provided and no temporary job was provided as was agreed under the two agreements. Without such services, it was not possible for the complainant to survive in Canada and therefore, the complainant returned back to India and filed complaint for deficiency on the part of the opposite parties. As the opposite parties were the main service providers and they also took the responsibility of providing post arrival services through GSBC in Canada, it was the opposite parties, who were totally responsible for the services to be provided in Canada. There can be no better proof for deficiency in services on the part of the opposite parties that even after arriving in Canada, the complainant had to come back to India after some time. It was the opposite parties who introduced complainant to GSBC company and asked to sign with them otherwise, the complainant was not knowing that company. Therefore, the State Commission has rightly held that GSBC company as a service provider was an associate company of the opposite parties. Both companies were to provide services under one package and their services cannot be separated as the total responsibility was of the opposite parties. As the total package was for getting visa to Canada and then to get assistance in getting job in Canada and till that time, the temporary job was to be arranged for complainant and the opposite parties have failed in all these aspects. As the complainant has suffered lot of mental agony and has suffered financial loss due to the fact that he lost his service in India. Keeping this in view, the State Commission has rightly awarded compensation of Rs. 3,00,000 and refund of the amount paid to the opposite parties. Looking at the harassment and mental agony suffered by the complainant as well as financial loss suffered by the complainant, the complainant is entitled for greater compensation as his family is going through a very bad phase. The revision petition filed by the complainant seeks to enhance the amount of compensation.
7. I have considered the arguments advanced by both the parties and have examined the record. It is an agreed fact that the complainant entered into an agreement with the opposite parties for getting visa to Canada and for assisting the complainant to get job in Canada by providing post arrival services in Canada. It is also admitted that the complainant got visa for Canada and went to Canada in the year 2010. After facing certain difficulties there, the complainant came back to India. It is true that if a person does not get any employment (even temporary) it will be very difficult to survive for a long time in a foreign country like Canada. The State Commission after examining the record has found that there were lapses in providing post arrival services in Canada. As it was a package for providing services and the face of that package was the opposite party, the State Commission has rightly observed that the company GSBC, which was to provide post arrival services needs to be considered as an associate of the opposite party. The opposite parties have not produced any fresh evidence to prove that the post arrival services were provided as per the agreement. Even though GSBC company may be a different company based in another country, it has links with opposite parties and it is getting business through opposite parties. The opposite parties have also got the business after showing to the complainant that GSBC company shall provide post arrival services in Canada. As it was a package deal with opposite parties, they have to be responsible for all the services to be provided in India as well as after arrival in Canada. From this, the order of the State Commission seems to be justified so far as it has decided that the opposite parties were deficient in providing services. As Rs. 25,000 and US$ 1,000 were paid for the Golden Package with aim of providing post arrival services in Canada and the same were not provided, the complainant is entitled to get these amounts refunded as has been held by the State Commission. It is true that the complainant must have suffered mental agony and physical harassment due to lack of post arrival services, a compensati
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on of Rs. 3,00,000 awarded by the State Commission seems to be on a very high side because the opposite parties have fulfilled all the obligations as per the agreement entered with opposite parties. In the facts and circumstances of the case and particularly looking at the fact that complainant got visa and PR card in Canada a compensation of Rs. 50,000 seems reasonable. 8. Based on the above discussion, the RP 663 of 2016 filed by the opposite parties is partly allowed and the order of the State Commission is modified to the extent that the opposite parties/petitioners will be liable to pay a compensation of Rs. 50,000 (Rupees fifty thousand only) instead of Rs. 3,00,000 as awarded by the State Commission. Rest of the order of the State Commission is upheld. The total amount payable to the complainant shall attract an interest @10% from the date of order of the State Commission till actual payment. This order be complied with by the opposite parties/petitioners within a period of 30 days from the date of this order. The RP No. 1317 of 2016 filed by the complainant is consequently dismissed. Revision Petitions disposed of.