CONSUMER COMPLAINT NO.224/2008
Smt. V. Ratna Bai, W/o B. Albert Raju, aged 67 years
H.No.10-116, Ratna Nivas, Ramanagar,
Gannavaram Mandal, Krishna District. -- Complainant
Shriram Chits Pvt., Ltd., Rep., by its Branch Manager
H.No.1-58, Eluru Road, OldAndhraBankBuilding
Appanaveedu, Pedapadu Mandal, Hanuman Junction
W.G. Dist. -- Opposite Party
This complaint coming before us for final hearing on 17-4-2009 and on perusing the Complaint, version and other material papers on record and on hearing the arguments of the complainant appeared in person and Sri. K.V.S.N.R. Gopal, Advocate for the Opposite Party and the matter having stood over for consideration to this day, this forum made the following:-
The complainant filed the present complaint under Sec. 12 of Consumer Protection Act to direct the opposite party to pay a sum of Rs.23,365/- towards interest for the delayed payments and also award damages of Rs.50,000/- towards mental agony. The averments of the complainant in brief are that :
2. The complainant was the subscriber of the chit bearing No. HJGH5/6 of Shriram Chits Pvt., Ltd., in Hanuman junction Branch and the said chit was completed by 17-11-2007. Due to completion of the chit, an amount of Rs.1,37,150/- was to be paid to the complainant by the opposite party. It is further alleged that when the opposite party did not pay the said amount by 17-11-2007 she made repeated requests to the opposite party for payment of the chit amount. In the meanwhile, she incurred lot of expenditure towards medical expenses to her daughter when she was admitted in Prakash Nursing Home, Gannavaram and such other expenditure towards clearance of the debt to the Agricultural Cooperative Society, Buddavaram, Gannavaram Mandal and also some medical expenditure towards her husband for undergoing heart surgery etc., Because of non-receipt of the chit amount in time, she experienced mental agony to meet out the said expenditure.
3. While the matter stood thus, the Branch Manager of the opposite party delivered a cheque dt. 28-4-2008 for a sum of Rs.1,22,610/- towards part payment after a lapse of 5 ˝ months to the complainant out of the bid amount of Rs.1,37,150/- leaving behind the balance amount of Rs.14,540/- promising in writing to pay the said balance amount by 2-5-2008 without fail and also consented to abide to the legal action that can be taken by her in case of default and ultimately failed to fulfill the promise. Subsequently after making several requests, the opposite party after a lapse of 2 months sent the said balance amount of Rs.14,500/- by way of cash through their collection agent on 27-6-2008. It is further alleged that such payment of full amount after a lapse of 7 ˝ months and that too in 2 instalments without paying interest amounts to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice by the opposite party. Thus the present complaint is filed for the aforesaid reliefs.
4. The opposite party while denying the averments of the complaint filed by the complainant stated that previously the complainant promised to join in another chit and asked the opposite party to keep a sum of Rs.14,500/- towards subscription amount at the time of paying bid amount as such the opposite party paid a sum of Rs.1,22,610/- by way of cheque leaving an amount of Rs.14,540/- to the complainant and subsequently when she bluntly refused to join in another chit and asked the opposite party to pay the balance of Rs.14,540/- and insisted payment immediately, the opposite party having no alternative, executed a letter dt. 28-4-2008 mentioning the said fact and undertook to pay the said balance amount by 2-5-2008 and that as per the promise, the balance amount of Rs.14,540/- and a sum of Rs.8,000/- towards interest ie., in total a sum of Rs.22,540/- was paid on 3-5-2008 to the complainant in cash and settled the matter as promised, and in that process, the complainant also gave an acknowledgement letter dt. 3-5-2008 accordingly. As such there is no transaction of payment or receipt or any amount due under the said chit. Thus, the present complaint is liable to be dismissed.
5. Thereupon, the complainant in proof of the complaint filed her affidavit supporting the averments of the complaint filed by her and got marked Ex A.1 to Ex A.4. On the other hand, the opposite party filed the affidavit in support of the averments of his version and got marked Ex B.1.
6. The points for determination now are :
1)Whether the complainant is entitled for the interest as claimed by her ?
2)Whether there is any deficiency and unfair trade practice on the part of the opposite party ?
3)To what relief ?
POINT No: 1 :
As per the material placed on record by both sides, there is no dispute about the complainant becoming the subscriber of the chit run by the opposite party and there is also no dispute in the matter about the payment of Rs.1,22,610/- by way of cheque dt. 28-4-2008 and the balance amount of Rs.14,540/- by way of cash after a lapse of some period to the complainant by the opposite party. The only dispute between the parties in the matter is only with regard to the interest for the delayed payments. As per the very version filed by the opposite party, the chit was completed by 17-11-2007 and the first payment of Rs.1,22,610/- was made to the complainant by way of cheque on 28-4-2008 out of the bid amount of Rs.1,37,150/-. It is the contention of the complainant that the opposite party failed to pay interest on the bid amount of Rs.1,37,150/- at the rate of 3% pm., for a period 164 days ie., from 17-11-2007 to 28-4-2008. As per the very version and affidavit filed by the opposite party the contention of the opposite party is that as per the terms and conditions of the agreement executed by the complainant under the Act, the payment of the prize money should be made to the complainant within one month from the date of her submitting proper sureties to the satisfaction of the Foreman. It is not the case of the opposite party that the complainant has not fulfilled the terms and conditions of the agreement executed by her till 28-4-2008. Therefore it is clear from the very version of the opposite party that the opposite party has to make payment of the total bid amount of Rs.1,37,150/- to the complainant within one month from the date of last auction ie., on or before 17-12-2007. There is no whisper either in the version or in the affidavit filed by the opposite party that such payment of Rs.1,22,610/- made by it to the complainant on 28-4-2008 includes interest. So the complainant clearly established that she is entitled for the interest over the amount of Rs.1,37,150/- for the delayed payments but however it should be from 17-12-2007 to 28-4-2008 at the rate of 12% pa.,
The next contention of the complainant is that at the time of making first part payment on 28-4-2008 by way of cheque she insisted the opposite party for the balance amount of Rs.14,540/- and thereupon the opposite party promised to pay the balance amount in writing by 2-5-2008 and ultimately sent the said balance amount of Rs.14,540/- through their collection executive on 27-6-2008 as such the payment of the full amount with such a great delay that too in two instalments that too without interest amounts to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice. At this stage, it is the contention of the opposite party that at the time first payment by way of cheque, the complainant herself agreed to join in a new chit and gave her consent to deduct subscription amount from out of the bid amount of Rs.1,37,150/- and when the complainant subsequently refused to join as a member in the new chit and as there is a long procedure for issuance of cheque for the said balance amount, immediately such undertaking Ex A.4 was given promising to pay the balance amount of Rs.14,540/- by 2-5-2008 and accordingly paid the said amount to the complainant by 3-5-2008 itself and obtained an acknowledgement letter Ex B.1 from her. As far as the contention of the opposite party other than Ex B.1 is concerned, there is no proof produced by the opposite party in that regard. As far as Ex B.1 is concerned, the contention of the complainant is that it is a fabricated document created by the opposite party in order to cause wrongful loss to her, which itself shows the unfair trade practice on the part of the opposite party. The opposite party expect taking such plea that the complainant passed such acknowledgement letter Ex B.1, did not place any positive material in support of his contention. When the execution of the acknowledgement letter is completely denied by the complainant, the burden lies on the opposite party to establish the execution of Ex B.1 in a positive manner and to the utmost satisfaction of this Forum.
As stated above the opposite party failed to place sufficient material on record in support of its contentions that the letter of acknowledgement is a true and genuine document executed by the complainant. Though admittedly full bid amount of Rs.1,37,150/- is to be paid within one month from the date of auction but the payment of said amount in 2 instalments that too with a great delay and that too without referring about the payment of interest thereon amounts to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice.
POINT No: 2 :
Therefore for the reasons stated above, we found that the delay in payment of chit amount to the complainant amounts to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice. So, the complainant is entitled for the interest on Rs.1,37,150/- only at the rate of 12% pa., from 17-12-2007 to 28-4-2008 and interest on Rs.14,540/- at the rate of 12% pa., from 29-4-2008 to 27-6-2008 besides a sum of Rs.1,000/- towards damages for mental agony and Rs.500/- towards costs.
In the result, the complaint is allowed directing the opposite party to pay interest on Rs.1,37,150/- at the rate of 12% pa., only from 17-12-2007 to 28-4-2008 and further interest on Rs.14,540/- at the rate of 12% pa., from 29-4-2008 to 27-6-2008 besides a sum of Rs.1000/- (Rupees one thousand only) towards damages for mental agony and Rs.500/- towards costs to the complainant within 30 days from the date of due dispatch of free copy of this order.