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Aggarwal Packers and Movers vs. Renu Sharma dated 2011-05-02


(From the order dated 06.04.2009 in FA No. 323 /2008
of Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission)
Aggarwal Packers and Movers                                                       …        Petitioner
DRS Transport (P) Ltd.
Through its Managing Director
7575, Ram Nagar
New Delhi
Renu Sharma                                                                                   …        Respondent
D/o Shri S.K. Sharma
R-123, Ridgewood Estate
DLF, 4, Gurgaon
                            HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE V.B. GUPTA, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioner
For the Respondent
  Mr. Gaurav Kejriwal & Mr. Samanvya Dwivedi, Advocates
Mr. S.R. Sharma, Advocate with respondent in person
Pronounced on : 2nd May,  2011
Briefly stated, the facts of this case are that the complainant, respondent herein, hired the services of the petitioner/OP for transportation of household goods from Bangalore to Gurgaon. As per the agreement, the petitioner/OP was to pack all goods in Bangalore and unpack them at Gurgaon at the time of delivery. The complainant paid the amount of transportation charges by two cheques dated 29.10.2006 each amounting to Rs.62,150/- and Rs.10,450/- respectively. The consignment was also insured after payment of additional sum of 3%. The petitioner/OP delivered the goods to the respondent at Gurgaon on 04.11.2006 but the respondent was shocked to find that many of the articles were badly damaged and some of the items were found missing. The respondent, therefore, lodged a complaint with the petitioner/OP.  Representatives of the petitioner visited the residence of respondent on 06.11.2006 and according to the respondent, the representatives were apprised of the estimated loss and they assured the respondent regarding suitable compensation. Eventually, the complainant/respondent had to approach the consumer fora by lodging a complaint. On being noticed, the petitioner/OP resisted the complaint and also objected to the territorial jurisdiction of the District Forum. It denied any deficiency in service on its part and prayed for dismissal of the complaint. On appraisal of the issues and the evidence adduced before it, the District Forum vide its order dated 19.2.2008 rejected the objection taken by the petitioner/OP in respect of the territorial jurisdiction and the District Forum while accepting the complaint held the OP guilty of deficiency of service and hence directed it to pay a sum of Rs.20,000/- on account of loss in respect of goods mentioned in Annexure E of the complaint and also to pay a sum of Rs.5,000/- as cost of litigation to the complainant. While no appeal was filed by the petitioner/OP challenging the order of the District Forum, the respondent/complainant not feeling satisfied with the amount of compensation, approached the State Commission by filing an appeal for enhancing the compensation towards loss in respect of goods transported. The State Commission vide its order dated 06.04.2009 while upholding the finding of the District Forum regarding territorial jurisdiction and deficiency in service on the part of the petitioner/OP, allowed the appeal and modified the order of the District Forum to the extent that the amount of compensation was enhanced to Rs.50,000/- as a lump sum amount including compensation for loss and for mental agony, harassment, etc. as well as the cost of litigation. The present revision petition has been filed to challenge this order of the State Commission.
2.         We have heard the counsel for the parties at length and perused the record. It is to be noted that both the fora below have returned their concurrent finding in favour of the complainant in respect of deficiency in service on the part of the petitioner Co. The State Commission in its impugned order has recorded the following reasons in support of its finding:-
“4.The District Forum has referred to clinching documents which give the details of the loss as under :-
    Items                                                Price(as per cost of repair of packing list)
                                                                                                   (In Rs.)
1.            Microwave oven                                                   6,800/-
2.            Sofa                                                                            6,000/-
3.            Fridge                                                                                 10,000/-
4.            TV                                                                            10,000/-
5.            Carpet                                                                      1,000/-
6.            Monitor                                                                   10,000/-
7.            Dressing glass                                                          1,000/-
8.            Crockery                                                                   18,000/-
9.            Suitcases                                                                  8,000/-
10.          Dining glass                                                              5,000/-
11.          Cloths                                                                        26,000/-
12.          Centre table glass                                                 3,000/-
13.          Computer hard disk damaged                         10,000/-
14.          2 gents wrist watches missing                            5,000/-
15.          Damaged stabilizer                                              3,000/-
16.          2 crystal show pieces missing                             3,000/-
17.          Crockery cabinet                                                  1,000/-
                                          Total     :                                   1,35,800/-           
5.         The observations of the District Forum are that except item No.1 respondent has not explained as to how he had  assessed the loss and there is no description as to what is the extent of damage.  This was hardly a ground for reducing the claim of the appellant to such a low level.
6.         For instance, the District Forum confronted the appellant as to claim of  Rs. 26,000/- towards the dry cleaning of the clothes.  For such house hold articles as referred   above,  nobody is   required   to   keep the receipt for dressing glass, dining glass, clothes, centre table glass, crockery etc.
7.         However, taking over all view of the case and the grievance of the appellant, we deem that in the interest of natural justice, the respondent is directed to pay Rs. 50,000/- as a lump sum compensation for the loss and for  mental agony, harassment etc. which shall include the cost of litigation.
8.         So far as the objection of territorial jurisdiction is concerned, it has no force as Section 11 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides that the District Forum shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the opposite party or each of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain.  Respondents have their office at Delhi and as such Delhi District Forum has a jurisdiction.”
3.         We agree with the view taken by the fora below. The issue in respect of the territorial jurisdiction raised by the counsel for the petitioner has been dealt with by the fora below suitably in accordance with the provisions of section 11 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and since it is not in dispute that the petitioner has an office at Delhi, we do not find any infirmity in the impugned orders in this regard. It is also to be noted that the finding of the District Forum holding the petitioner responsible for deficiency in service has not been challenged by the petitioner before the State Commission and hence its order in this regard obviously would become final. In any case, the same has been upheld by the State Commission as well. So far as the quantum of compensation is concerned, we find that the complainant had claimed a  total compensation of Rs.1,35,800/- in respect of damage/loss of 17 items, details of which are contained in the documents filed by the complainant. We have gone through the order of the District Forum and we find that the District Forum while considering the claim of the complainant found the assessment in respect of only 2 out of 17 items as doubtful or questionable. However, the estimate in respect of these items amounted to only Rs.32,800/-. No reasons have been given by the District Forum as to how it reduced the amount of compensation claimed by the complainant from Rs.1,03,000/- to Rs.20,000/- in respect of the damaged/missing items after excluding the two questionable entries. The State Commission vide its impugned order has not agreed with the District Forum in regard to the reduction in the claim of the complainant to such a low level and hence enhanced the compensation to a lump sum amount of Rs.50,000/-.  This is obviously in keeping with the description of different items and the estimated price involved. We do not see any reason or justification to interfere with this finding of fact while exercising the revisional jurisdiction. Consequently, the revision petition being devoid of any substance stands dismissed with no order as to costs.

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