consumer case(CC) No. CC/09/186
The Nodal officer
IN THE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, KASARAGOD
Dated this, the 5th day of January 2010.
SRI.K.T.SIDHIQ : PRESIDENT
SMT.P.RAMADEVI : MEMBER
SMT.P.P.SYAMALADEVI : MEMBER
Near Palai Road,
Puthariyadukkam Po, Munnamkutti, : Complainant
1. Customer care at Reliance ADA.Com
2. The Nodel Officer,
Reliance Communications Ltd, 3rd floor,
A7P Arcade, S.A.Road Kadavanthra,Cochi-16.
3. N.Vittaldas, Sundar Stores, : Opposite parties
Reliance Communications , Main Bazar,Nileshwar.
4. Reliance Communications,Vengacheri Arcade,
Ground Floor, ,T.B.Road,Kanhangad.
SRI.K.T.SIDHIQ : PRESIDENT
In nutshell, the case of the complainant Sri.Sudhakaran is that his wireless landline connection provided by the opposite parties is disconnected alleging that he has not paid the bill for the period 5/6/09 to 4/7/09 amounting to Rs.140/- though he paid the said bill in time.
2. Ist opposite party is represented and one Raj Raj Varma.R, the legal Manager Reliance Communications, filed version contending only the maintainability of the complaint before the Forum in view of Sec.7 (B) of the Telegraph Act 1885. But the facts as stated by the complainant is remained uncontroverted in the version. Though notice were served on other opposite parties they remained absent. Hence the opposite parties 3&4 were set exparte.
3. Complainant filed affidavit in support of his case. Exts.A1 series(6 Nos.) to A3 marked. Complainant heard, documents perused.
4. Now the points for determination are:
1. Whether the complaint is maintainable before the Forum in view of the Arbitration clause contained in Telegraph Act 1885?
2. Whether there is any deficiency in service on the part of the opposite parties and if so, the reliefs and costs.
5. Point No.1: As per Sec.7 B of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885, the Central Govt. has to appoint an arbitrator to settle the dispute between an individual consumer and a private telecom service provider .We donít think that in this era of liberalization the Central government had any business in the settlement of disputes between a private telecom service provider and an individual consumer and therefore it is clear that the said provision of Telegraph Act is applicable only to the Central Govt. owned telecom service providers.
6. Further the Honíble Supreme Court in Civil Appeal 7687/04 reiterated the legal preposition that the special law will override general law.
The TRAI Act 1997 amended in the year 2000 is a special act enacted to regulate the telecommunication services and it includes the protection of the interests of telecom service providers and consumers. As per Sec.14 of the TRAI Act TDSAT ( Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal) is constituted to adjudicate the dispute between a licensor and licensee, between 2 or more service providers, between a service provider and a group of consumers. The proviso clause of this sections says that nothing in the clause contained in Sec.14 of the Act shall apply in respect of matters relating to the complaint of an individual consumer maintainable before a Consumer Disputes Redressal forum, and Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established under section 9 of the C.P.Act,1986. Therefore, it is clear that even after the constitution of TDSAT the jurisdiction of the FORA constituted under Sec.9 of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 is not ousted and an individual consumer can file his complaint before the consumer Forum to redress his grievances.
Therefore, we hold that the Consumer Forums have jurisdiction to try individual consumer complaint against the telecom service providers that is maintainable before the FORA.
7. Point.No.2: The grievance of the complainant is that the opposite party has illegally disconnected his land line connection alleging that a bill for Rs.140/- is due from him where as he has paid the said bill. Ext.A1(a) is the receipt dtd.11/7/09 issued for the payment of Rs.140/-. Therefore it is clear that there was no dues from the complainant to the opposite party as alleged and hence the disconnection of the landline telephone connection of the complainant is illegal and it amounts to deficiency in service. No doubt a consumer would suffer much mental agony due to the disconnection of a telephone connection for no fault on his part.
In the result, the complaint is allowed and opposite parties are directed to reconnect the wireless landline connection No.4673204590 provided to the complainant and pay a compensation of Rs.7000/- with a cost of Rs.2000/-. Time for compliance is limited to 30 days from the date of receipt of copy of the order, failing which the compensation of Rs.7000/- will carry interest@ 12/- from the date of complaint till payment.