CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
FIRST APPEAL NO.757/2007 Date of Filing:- 15/06/2007
IN CONSUMER COMPLAINT NO.56/2000 Date of Order:- 13/08/2009
DISTRICT CONSUMER FORUM, SOLAPUR
Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited,
Juni Mill Compound, Solapur,
Tahsil-District-Solapur ... Appellant (Org. Opponent)
Shri Sidhappa Lachmayya Sholalu,
64, Patil Nagar, Degaon Naka,
Tahsil-District-Solapur ... Respondent(Org.Complainant)
Corum :- Mr.P.N.Kashalkar, Hon’ble Presiding Judicial Member,
Present :- Mr.S.S.Kalekar, Adv. for the Appellant.
Mr.L.A. Gawai, Adv. for the Respondent.
O R D E R
Per Mr.P.N.Kashalkar,Hon’ble Presiding Judicial Member
1) This is an appeal filed by M.S.E.D.C. Limited against the judgment and award passed by the District Consumer Forum, Solapur in Consumer Complaint No.56/2000 dated 27/4/2007 whereby the Forum below allowed the complaint and quashed the bills dated 28/10/1999 and 23/12/1999 and directed that the bills should be issued taking into account six months average consumption made by the complainant and the electric meter of the complainant should also be got rectified and further directed M.S.E.D.C.Ltd. to pay to the complainant Rs.1,000/- towards mental agony and cost.
2) Facts to the extent material may be stated as under :
3) Complainant stays in Patil Nagar Zopadpatti. He consumes electricity around 30 to 40 units per month. He has three bulbs of 40 Watts and T.V. connection. Since, December-1995, his meter was out of order. He had informed M.S.E.D.C. about meter being out of order but the O.P. did not repair the meter or changed the meter. According to him, he used to get two monthly bill of Rs.50/- to Rs.60/-. On 29/6/1998, he received bill of Rs.47/- and on 28/10/1998 he got bill of Rs.57/- but on 28/10/1999 he was given bill of Rs.49,543/-. The said bill was issued for the consumption of 740 units. Then, for another bill dated 23/12/1999 was issued for consumption of 750 unit for the amount of Rs.53,860/-. According to the complainant, he has never made such a huge consumption. When he approached the authorities of O.P. they told that bill was proper and should be paid. Since, he had not paid the bill from 29/1/2000, his connection was discontinued. He therefore suffered grave mental shock. According to the complainant, by giving huge amount of bill, the O.P./Company is guilty of deficiency in service and O.P. should be directed to get meter tested and duly repaired. He prayed that bill dated 23/12/1999 should be quashed and reasonable bill should be issued and he should be permitted to pay the said bill and O.P. should be directed to restore electric supply to his house.
4) The O.P. filed written statement and denied the averments made in the complaint. It pleaded that the meter of the complainant was not out of order since December-1995 for the simple reason that on 9/2/1995 meter of the complainant was changed. Thereafter, the complainant did not permit meter reader to take reading. So, on the bill it was written that reading was not available for such fault. The complainant was issued 0 unit bill. The complainant was using electricity but bills were issued under 0 unit. The complainant had never made complaint against such bills. It denied that complainant was getting monthly bill of Rs.50/- to Rs.60/-. The O.P. pleaded that on 28/10/1999 complainant was issued bill as per meter reading in which previous arrears were shown. According to the O.P. his meter was never faulty. He had never applied for getting electricity meter checked on the ground that it was faulty. Since, the complainant had not paid the bill, his supply was discontinued. He had not paid the bills since June-1999. On 23/12/1999, the complainant was issued bill as per meter reading. So, it pleaded that complaint should be dismissed with cost.
5) Both the parties filed affidavits and documents and record and after perusing the documents and C.P.L. entries the Forum below held that bills were issued after June-1999 exorbitantly and thereby the O.P. was guilty of deficiency in service. Hence, it allowed the complaint and quashed the bills in question. As such, the O.P./M.S.E.D.C. Limited has filed this appeal.
6) We heard submissions of Mr.S.S.Kalekar, Adv. for the appellant and Mr.L.A.Gawai, Adv. for the respondent. We are finding that for most of the period respondent was being given bills having 0 unit because meter reading could not be done. Since, meter reading was not available the meter was marked as faulty and after availability of meter reading the bills were issued to the complainant/respondent as per reading. We have seen the personal ledger account of the consumer and simply because meter reading was not available the 0 unit consumption bill was issued to the complainant and minimum charges were recovered from the complainant. But, when meter reading was available bill as per reading was issued. Mr.Kalekar rightly submitted that the meter of the complainant was changed on 9/2/1995 itself. So, meter was never faulty. But, since meter reading could not be done the respondent was issued 0 unit consumption bill and now the complainant was taking advantage of the so called bills he had paid. According to Mr.Kalekar, the bills issued to the complainant was proper as per meter reading. He had not paid the bill hence his supply was disconnected. In the circumstances, direction of the Forum below that M.S.E.D.C. Limited should calculate average of last six months bills and should charge the consumer accordingly on average basis is appearing to be erroneous and bad in law. Because for pretty long time there was no meter reading at all and 0 unit consumption bills were issued to the complainant. In the light of this fact, the order passed by the Forum below is per se appearing to be erroneous and bad in law. We are satisfied that the Forum below clearly erred in law in appreciating the facts on record and in quashing the bills issued by the M.S.E.D.C. in the month December-1999. Thus, we are inclined to allow the appeal to quash and set aside the order passed by the Forum below. Hence, the following order.
O R D E R
1) Appeal is allowed.
2) Impugned judgment and award passed by the Forum below is hereby quashed and set aside. Complaint stands dismissed.
3) Parties are left to bear their own costs.
4) Copies of this order be sent to the parties free of cost.
( Smt.S.P.Lale ) (P.N.Kashalkar )
Member Presiding Judicial Member