Consumer Court: BSES to pay for denying power connection

Power distribution company BSES has been ordered by a consumer forum in Delhi to pay Rs 6,000 to one of its customers as compensation for arbitrarily denying him a separate and new electricity connection.

 The South West District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum asked BSES to pay the compensation to city resident Jaipal Singh, holding the firm guilty of “misusing its dominant position.”The forum termed as “vague” the firm’s reason for denying the consumer a new power connection that commercial formalities were not completed by him.

“We observe that complainant (Singh) had submitted the application in the prescribed format for installation of new connection along with the fees of Rs 3,600 and had also (attached) indemnity bond, ID card and copy of khatuani. We do not understand what other requirements the opposite party (BSES) wants from complainant.”

 “The stand taken by the opposite party is quiet vague, which shows the wilful intension of the opposite party… It is the misuse of dominant position by the opposite party which also amounts to deficiency in providing service,” the bench presided by Narendra Kumar said.

 Singh in his complaint before the forum had alleged that BSES officials tried to install an old meter when he had paid Rs 3,600 for a new one when he had applied for a separate electric connection on July 19, 2008.On his objection to the old meter, the officials did not provide him the electric connection and he had to resort to using an inverter, he had said.

 In its written statement, the discom had contended that the connection was not provided as commercial formalities had not been completed by Singh.

 The forum rejected the discom’s stand saying its act of denying power connection was unjustified and arbitrary and directed it to install a new meter within one month and to pay him Rs 5,000 as compensation for harassment and Rs 1,000 as litigation cost.

IGL fined for delaying gas connection

The Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL), the supplier of Piped Natural Gas in Delhi has been fined by a consumer forum here to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation to a customer for delay in providing gas connection to him.

  The South West District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum observed that the IGL had “failed to perform” its “statutory obligation” of supplying gas to Delhi resident Vineet Kumar and provided the same only after he filed a complaint nine months after applying for it.

  “From the perusal of the record it is clearly established that the gas supply was released to the complainant (Kumar) only on January 17, 2010 as stated by opposite party’s (IGL) representative, who appeared on their behalf in this forum on February 1, 2010, after Kumar had already filed the complaint on December 23, 2009, alleging deficiency-in-service”.

  “From the above stated facts, we feel satisfied that the IGL failed to perform their statutory obligation as undertaken vide the terms and conditions for supply of PNG to consumers.

  We, therefore, hold it guilty for deficiency-in-service,” the bench presided by Narendra Kumar said.

  Vineet Kumar in his complaint had alleged that he had applied to the IGL for a gas connection on March 18, 2009, depositing Rs 5,000 and he was told that he would get the connection in 15 days.

  He had added that after expiry of 15 days, whenever he contacted the representatives of IGL, they kept on extending the period.

  The IGL had contended that as per the terms and conditions for supply of PNG to domestic consumers, a time frame of six months had been fixed which was subject to necessary clearance and statutory permissions. The firm had added that on completion of the PNG installation Kumar had signed a satisfaction report.

  The forum, however, rejected IGL’s stand saying “the report does not absolve them of their liability to release the supply of gas within six months.”

  Allowing Kumar’s complaint, the forum asked the IGL to pay Kumar a consolidated sum of Rs 10,000 as compensation for harassment along with the cost of litigation.

Rejection of claim on”fanciful ground” costs LIC Rs 4L

A consumer court has directed the LIC to pay Rs 4L as LIC has rejected a claim of a widow, a life insurance policy holder, on her husband’s death on a “fanciful ground”.

The New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum ordered the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to pay the compensation while condemning its act of rejecting the claim and terming its official, who repudiated the claim, as one of “irresponsible mindset.”

 The LIC had rejected the claim on alleged ground of suppression of pre-existing disease, despite having medically examined and cleared the insured before issuing the policy, said the forum.

 “The ground of repudiation had been found from the leave application of deceased in his office. In the application, he took leave due to abscess in cheek, a trivial discomfort, as not any disease. This is alleged as suppression of material fact and pre-existing disease,” said the forum presided by C K Chaturvedi.

 “The rejection on such a fanciful ground is in line with the mindset of irresponsible officials, who think they serve their employer well by harassing consumers. We condemn this act of opposite party (LIC) and holding the LIC guilty of deficiency in service, direct it to pay assured sum of Rs three lakhs for death of the insured,” the bench said.

 The order of the forum came on a complaint by Gurgaon resident Bimla Devi, who had alleged that the LIC had arbitrarily rejected her claim for assured amount after the death of her husband in March 2005.

 She had said that her late husband had bought the life insurance policy from the LIC and had also paid two premiums prior to his death.

 Allowing the woman’s complaint, the bench directed the LIC to pay her the assured amount of Rs three lakh along with Rs one lakh as compensation for her harrasement for seven years that she underwent due to rejection of her claim after her husband’s death.

 “To teach a lesson to the (concerned) LIC official, we direct LIC to deduct 50 per cent of the Rs one lakh from the salary of the officer who okayed the repudiation,” it added.

Govt to pay employee for wife’s death in CGHS hospital

The Union government has been ordered by the country’s apex consumer panel to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to one of his employees, whose wife had died of excess bleeding in a CGHS hospital soon after giving birth to a child through cesarean section over 13 years ago.

 The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) ordered the government to pay the compensation, as the woman died of excess bleeding after surgery with no blood available in blood bank of the Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) maternity hospital.

 The government ordered compensation for the victim’s husband Arvind Pandey holding the union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the CGHS director general, the hospital and its doctor who performed the surgery, jointly liable for damages.

 The NCDRC held the doctor concerned, Dr Saran and the CGHS maternity hospital at R K Puram liable to pay damages saying they “failed to exercise due care on their part” leading to the death of Pandey’s wife.

 “The concerned doctor and the hospital had failed to anticipate problems arising out of the complications and to take precautionary measures, such as arranging for the blood or keeping an ambulance ready for shifting the patient,” the NCDRC bench presided by Justice R C Jain said.

 The NCDRC’s verdict came on Pandey’s complaint alleging his wife had died right after the delivery through cesarean section due to negligence of the CGHS maternity hospital and the doctors who were present during the surgery.

 The CGHS hospital and the doctors had contended in their defence that the best possible treatment was given to Pandey’s wife, who was a high-risk patient, and that he was informed before hand to arrange blood or blood donors.

Consumer Forum: Private Hospital to pay for Charging Poor

A private hospital affiliated with Fortis Healthcare has been ordered by a city district consumer forum to pay Rs 2.34 lakh to a poor woman for charging her for her son’s treatment despite a Delhi government’s order to provide free treatment to economically weaker section (EWS) patients.

The Central District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum ordered R B Seth Jessa Ram Hospital to refund the treatment cost of Rs 1.74 lakh to Madipur resident Gian Devi besides asking it to pay her a compensation of Rs 50,000 and Rs 10,000 as the litigation cost.

“The hospital has caused deficiency in service by demanding and accepting the expenses on consumables/medicines and forcing the complainant to purchase medicines from open market and to spend money to arrange blood for the treatment of her son”.

It should not have done so because of the guidelines (of Delhi government). Such acts of the hospital have caused deficiency in service,” the consumer forum presided by B B Chaudhary said.

The consumer forum’s order came on the plea of Gian Devi, who had alleged the hospital charged her for the treatment of her son, who, however, died later. It charged her for medicines and blood in contravention of the government’s guidelines, she said adding her late son was the sole earner in the family.

The hospital in its defence said it provided free consultation, ward, etc, as per the guidelines.

It also contended that the guidelines had been stayed by the Supreme Court, by an interim order in a case against the guidelines and as such the hospital was not required to provide free medicines.

The consumer forum rejected the contention saying the apex court’s interim stay order related only to the guidelines regarding cost of operation and not the medicines and directed the hospital to pay Rs 2.34 lakh to the woman.

Railway not responsible for luggage loss in passenger custody

The Maharashtra Consumer Redressal Commission has observed that if luggage is not handed over to railway administration against a proper receipt, the Railways will not be responsible in case of any theft or loss.

The commission was hearing an appeal filed by a Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Central Railways against the order of a district consumer redressal forum which had directed the DRM to pay Rs 1.35 lakhs to US resident Anagha Prasanna Walimbe for loss of her gold ornaments.

“It is not stated anywhere that the suitcase containing ornaments was under lock and key and when it was opened after leaving Pune railway station and reaching residence,” the bench presided by commission member S R Khanzode observed recently.

Khanzode also observed that the complaint of theft lodged with the Railway Police was closed and made final as the ornaments were not traceable.

In the absence of any cognate evidence placed on record by Walimbe, the railway administration shall not be held responsible for negligence or rendering deficient service to provide security/ protection to the luggage in the custody of the passenger, though traveling on a reserved ticket, Khanzode also said.

The Sholapur district consumer forum had directed the railways to pay Rs 1.35 lakhs along with 9 per cent interest after Walimbe filed a complaint saying that she traveled in the reserved second class on December 25, 1998, from Sholapur to Pune.

In her complaint, she said her luggage was kept under lock and key with her and after reaching Pune railway station, she took an autorickshaw to reach home. When she verified her luggage at night she found that her gold ornaments were missing from the suitcase.

She filed a case with the Railway police the next day.

Walimbe had alleged deficiency in service on the part of the railway administration and said there was no police bandobast or ticket collector to take care of her belongings of the passengers.

However, railways said she did not deposit her luggage with the authorities. Accordingly, she did not take a receipt.

Apple to pay Rs 17.4K

An authorised store for Apple productsi World Bussiness Solutions Pvt Ltd (iWorld), has been asked by a consumer forum here to pay Rs 17,400 to a medical student for deceiving him by selling him an “inferior iPod”.

The North District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum held that iWorld, a premium reseller of Apple products, “practiced deception” by selling Ankit Singhal, a medical student, a second generation ipod by “representing” it as third generation and directed it to refund the cost of the gadget.

“When the customer demanded third generation iPod, it was duty of the seller to sell only third-generation iPod. In the present case complainant (Ankit Singhal) was sold a second-generation iPod representing it to be a third-generation which is in the nature of deception practiced upon a customer just to sell inferior iPod.”

“The thing sold did not conform to its description. In the circumstances we are of the view that complainant is entitled for refund of amount of iPod. Accordingly, we direct the opposite party (iWorld) to refund the amount of Rs 12,400, the price of the iPod,” the bench presided by Babu Lal said.

Ankit Singhal, a student of Maulana Azad Medical College, had alleged that he had asked for a third-generation iPod but the iWorld had sold him a second-generation product instead.

He had said the invoice given by the store showed the iPod as third-generation, but later when he had checked its details on the Apple website he found it to be second generation.

Singhal had said that despite his requests, the store neither replaced the iPod nor refunded the amount paid by him.

He said he had bought the iPod for Rs 12,400 from the iWorld, as he required it for the purpose of his studies.

The forum had proceeded ex-parte against iWorld as no one appeared for it and directed the retailer to collect the iPod from Singhal at its own expense and pay him the Rs 12,400 as refund and a sum of Rs 5,000 as litigation cost.

Consumer court:HP to pay Rs 1.17 lakh for defective laptop

A Delhi consumer court fined HP for selling defective laptop and not repairing it to its cutomers.

The North District Consumer Disputes RedressalForum ordered HP to pay Rs 1.12 lakh to city resident Dev Raj Chaudhary as reimbursement of the laptop’s cost and Rs 5,000 as compensation for all the troubles he was put to by the defective machine.

The HP laptop, bought by Chaudhary in September 2007 for his daughter, a teacher in the USA, had defective speakers and he took it for repairs to Hewlett-Packard India Sales Pvt Ltd in February 2008.

The forum observed that the laptop was not even once presented in working condition before it and held that not only was the machine defective but there was deficiency in service provided to the customer.

“On the face of evidence on record, it is clear that the laptop in question was defective and the same was not put in order by OP2 (HP India Sales Pvt Ltd). Therefore, first of all the goods sold to the complainant was defective and secondly OP2 did not render services which amounts to deficiency of service.

“In these circumstances, we direct OP1 (Millenium PC Solution) and OP2 to jointly and severally refund the amount of Rs 1,12,000 to the complainant and to pay a sum of Rs 5,000 towards cost,” the bench presided by Babu Lal said.

The forum’s order came on Chaudhary’s plea, which alleged that the HP Laptop he had purchased from Millenium PC Solution turned out to be defective and was not repaired.

HP India Sales in its defence had contended that the laptop was repaired in May 2008 and it had written to Chaudhary in February 2009 to collect it, but he had not done so.

The forum, however, rejected the HP India’s contention, saying that the letter was sent by it “as a subterfuge”.