By all means, go to consumer forum for mobile-service disputes
The UT State Commission, headed by Justice Jasbir Singh, has held that mobile service/billing disputes are maintainable before the consumer courts. While dismissing an appeal by Videocon Telecom Ltd, the Commission has directed it to pay Rs 25,000 as compensation and costs for wrongful disconnection of service on the complainant’s mobile phone.
Sohar Singh, a resident of Mohali, had bought a post-paid mobile connection of Idea Cellular Network and got the same ported to the network of Videocon. The complainant had cleared all his dues on 19 August 2014. On 23 November 2014, Videocon barred calls on his mobile phone number on the grounds that he owed some amount to Idea. Singh paid Rs 214 to the network but Videocon still did not activate the connection.
Singh approached the district consumer forum for relief. It found the company at fault and ordered compensation. Videocon filed an appeal in the consumer commission against the forum order, claiming that the latter had no jurisdiction to entertain and decide such complaints.
Citing the Indian Telegraph Act, the company counsel argued, “Since the district forum was barred to entertain and decide any dispute arising out of telephone bills under the Act, it was wrong in accepting the complaint filed by Singh.” The commission, however, cited a circular issued by the ministry of consumer affairs that made it clear that “district forums are competent to deal with disputes between individual telecom consumers and telecom service providers.”
The consumer commission ordered that “consumer foras are competent to deal with disputes arising between consumers and telecom service providers. The objection taken by the cellular company that forum has no jurisdiction, being devoid of merit, must fail, and the same stands rejected. It is, therefore, held the district forum had jurisdiction to entertain and decide the complaint.”
Builder asked to shell out Rs 60,000 for giving less shop area
Thane District Consumer Redressal Forum (TDCRF) has directed a builder to pay Rs 60,000 compensation to a complainant for allotting him a shop of a lesser area than what was agreed upon.
Complainant Harshal Keshrinath Patil had approached TDCRF in December 2009, saying that he had purchased from Patil Builders and Developers a shop in a building at Tulij in Vasai area. He said that he paid Rs 337,500 and entered into an agreement for the same in 2007. He also said that later he paid Rs 912,500, taking the total payment made to the builder to Rs 1,250,000.
After receiving the shop, Patil got the premises inspected by an architect in November 2009, and it was found that the shop area was only 138.36 sq feet (built-up area), instead of the agreed 224.96 sq ft (less by 87 sq ft).
The builder contested the claim on the grounds that the complaint was time-barred, as the complainant had taken possession of the shop in 2007. Moreover, it was a civil complaint and needed to be tried by court, the firm pleaded.
However, TDCRF president Sneha S Mhatre and members Madhuri S Vishwarupe and ND Kadam dismissed the builder’s submissions and said that the complaint was filed within the stipulated time and they had the authority to entertain it. The forum also observed that the builder had not honoured the commitment made in the agreement between him and the buyer. The forum, however, did not agree with the complainant’s submission that he had paid an additional sum of Rs 912,500 to the builder as he could not produce any proof for it.
The forum ruled that by giving lesser area of shop than that agreed in the sale document, the builder had indulged in unfair business practices. It directed the construction firm to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation and Rs 10,000 towards legal expenses to the complainant by December 2015.