Francis TU - Complainant(s)


Sahib Gas Agency - Opp.Party(s)

30 May 2023


DATE OF FILING : 13.12.2018


Dated this the  5th  day of  May,  2023

Present :


SMT. ASAMOL P.                             MEMBER

SRI. AMPADY K.S.                           MEMBER

CC NO.225/2018


Complainant                                          :     Francis T.U.,

                                                                   Thengumthettayil House,

                                                                   Mullaringadu P.O.,


          (By Adv: K.M. Sanu)


Opposite Parties                                     : 1. The Manager,

                                                                   Sahib Gas Agency,

                                                                   Muthalakkodam P.O.,


           (By Advs: S. Asokan & Prasad Joseph)

      2. The Manager,

                                                                   Radha Bharat Gas Agency,

                                                                   Neriamangalam P.O..

                                                                3. The Manager,

                                                                   Amarjyothi Indane Service,

                                                                   Kothamangalam P.O..

                                                               4.  The Managing Director,

                                                                   Indian Oil Corporation,

                                                                   Ernakulam, Kochi.

 (By Advs: T.J. Augustine & V.V. Sunny)





1. This case originates from a complaint filed under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 (the Act, for short).  Complainant’s case is briefly discussed hereunder :


          Complainant is a resident of Vannappuram Village.  1st opposite party is Manager of a gas agency, namely, Sahib Gas Agency in Thodupuzha, 2nd opposite party is manager of Radha Bharath Gas Agency, Neriamangalam, 3rd opposite party is manager of Amarjyothi Indane Services, yet another gas agency in Kothamangalam and 4th opposite  party  is  managing  director  of Indian Oil Corporation having its office at                                                                                                                  (cont…..2)

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Ernakulam.  Complainant submits that while he was employed temporarily in Kothamangalam, he had applied for and obtained a single cylinder gas connection with consumer NO.17198 on 8.6.2005, from 3rd opposite party.  Subsequently, on 29.7.2007, the connection was changed to the agency of 1st opposite party.  Thereafter on 5.3.2011, while continuing with 1st opposite party, complainant had obtained 2nd cylinder also thereby making his connection as dual cylinder connection.  At the time of obtaining gas connection initially and subsequently while obtaining 2nd cylinder, complainant had deposited security charges and all other amounts due.  Complainant had applied for transfer of his gas connection to that of 2nd opposite party in first week of May 2018 owing to his transfer.  As requested by opposite party, on 5.5.2018, complainant had surrendered both cylinders along with regulator to the 1st opposite party and filed an application for transfer along with requisite papers.  He had received a termination voucher signed by 1st and 2nd opposite parties also. Though complainant had applied for re-issuance of his gas connection along with cylinders, before 2nd opposite party in the requisite format, connection was not given.  Upon enquiry, he was informed by the 2nd opposite party that connection cannot be granted as a transfer from another agency to him.  Despite repeated requests, 2nd opposite party has not given him gas connection.  Complainant, as a customer, has the right to get gas connection transferred from one agency to another in accordance with his needs and wishes.  Opposite parties are bound to give him connection upon transfer as applied for, by him.   Non-granting of transferred connection is deficiency in service on the part of opposite parties.  Due to their latches, complainant was unable to obtain gas connection for 7 months and had to undergo considerable difficulties.  It has also affected his work.  He therefore prays for a direction against 1st and 2nd opposite parties to grant him a gas connection as transferred from 1st opposite party with 2 cylinders immediately and also for compensation from opposite parties to the tune of Rs.1 lakh for deficiency in service.  Complainant has also prayed for Rs.5000/- as litigation costs.


          2. Complaint was admitted.  Notice was served upon all the opposite parties.  Except 2nd opposite party, all others have filed separate written versions.  Case of 1st opposite party so disclosed from his written version is briefly discussed hereunder :


          1st opposite party submits that the complainant had initially availed a single cylinder Indane gas connection from 3rd opposite party.  This was surrendered on 29.5.2007, with request to transfer the same to 1st opposite party and accordingly, transfer was effected with effect from 8.6.2007.  Thereafter complainant had applied for an additional cylinder on 5.3.2011, which was duly sanctioned and released on 23.5.2012 upon deposit of Rs.1,250/-.  From 23.5.2012 onwards, complainant was enjoying double bottle connection from 1st opposite party and there were no complaints from his side against the agency.  Later, complainant had requested 1st opposite party to transfer his connection to Neriamangalam.  Complainant was directed to surrender the                                                                                                                   (cont…..3)

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cylinders and regulator so as to channelize the transfer process.  Complainant surrendered cylinders and regulator on 4.5.2018.  As requested by complainant, 1stopposite party duly issued transfer voucher No.21000000002174947 dated 4.5.2018 to Neriamangalam.  As there were more than one agency at Neriamangalam, complainant was at liberty to present the transfer voucher to any agency on his choice.


          Complainant had thereafter informed 1st opposite party that though he had duly presented the transfer voucher before 2nd opposite party, they had refused to accept the same as  details of security deposit were not mentioned in the transfer voucher.  1st opposite party had contacted the 2nd opposite party over telephone to ascertain the facts.  2nd opposite party had informed that details of security deposit were missing in the transfer voucher.  This discrepancy was an inadvertent outcome of a clerical error.  1st opposite party contacted the complainant over phone and requested him to return the transfer voucher so as to issue a fresh transfer voucher after incorporating all the necessary details regarding security deposit.  Concerned sales officer of Indane was also duly informed about the discrepancy via e-mail, on 21.6.2018.  Despite repeated requests over phone, complainant had not returned the transfer voucher to opposite party. Therefore 1st opposite party was unable to issue a fresh transfer voucher incorporating all the necessary details.  1st opposite party has reliably come to know that complainant had met with an accident; that he was under prolonged treatment and bed ridden.  It was for this reason complainant had failed to return the transfer voucher.  Hrnce there was no occasion for 1st opposite party to issue transfer voucher.  1st opposite party alleges that failure to get transfer effected is on account of negligence on the part of complainant to return transfer voucher and to obtain another one with all details.  1st opposite party is not liable for the mistake of complainant. Unless, initial transfer voucher dated 4.5.2018 is returned, no fresh transfer voucher can be issued.  1st opposite party further submits that complainant had availed a new gas connection in the name of his wife Priyamol Jose from St. Johns Bharat Gas agency, Kalady.  Failure to return the transfer voucher dated 4.5.2018 is willful.  There was no deficiency in service from the side of 1st opposite party.  Complainant is at liberty to return transfer voucher at any time and upon such return 1st opposite party is prepared to issue a transfer voucher afresh.  Compensation prayed for is exaggerated and exorbitant.  Complainant is not entitled to get any reliefs as prayed for against 1st opposite party.  It is not maintainable in law or upon facts.  Same is to be dismissed with costs.


3. 3rd opposite party’s contentions as disclosed from his written version are briefly reproduced hereunder :


3rd opposite party submits that complainant has no cause of action against 3rd opposite party.  Hence 3rd opposite party is to be deleted from party array.  No reliefs are sought against 3rd opposite party. There are no allegations of deficiency in service as against 3rd opposite party.                                                                       (cont….4)

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4.  4th opposite party’s contentions as reflected from its written version are briefly narrated hereunder :


According to 4th opposite party, allegations of complainant are against 2nd opposite party, who is LPG distributor of M/s. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd., which is another oil company.  M/s. Bharat Petroleum Corporation is a necessary party and is to be impleaded as such.  Non-impleadment of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. makes the complaint bad for non-joinder.  No allegations are raised against 4th opposite party.  As per complaint averments, 1st and 4th opposite parties have fulfilled their obligations and there are no allegations of deficiency in service as against them.  4th opposite party is not liable for any of  the reliefs sought for in the complaint.  It has been wrongly impleaded in this case, instead of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd.  Since 4th opposite party has been unnecessarily impleaded in this case, it seeks dismissal of complaint with compensatory costs. 


5. After filing of written version, case was posted for evidence, prior to which sufficient opportunity was granted to both sides to take steps.  On the side of complainant, he himself was examined as PW1.  Exts.P1 to P4 were admitted in evidence from his side.  Upon admission of PW1, during cross examination, Ext.R1 series produced by 1st opposite party were marked. Other opposite parties have not given evidence in this matter.  Ext.R2 produced by 1stopposite party was admitted without formal proof.  Evidence was closed.   At the time of hearing, there was no representation from the side of complainant or from the side of opposite parties 1 to 3.   4th opposite party had filed notes along with copies.  Now the points which arise for consideration are :

1)  Whether complaint is bad for non-joinder of necessary parties ?

2)  Whether there was any deficiency in service on the part of opposite parties ?

3)  Whether complainant is entitled for the reliefs prayed for in the complaint ?

4)  Final order and costs ?


6.  Point No.1:


          4th opposite party has taken a contention that he has been impleaded unnecessarily and further that M/s. Bharat Petroleum Corporation is a necessary party since 2nd opposite party is its LPG distributor.  Non-impleadment of M/s. Bharat Petroleum Corporation makes the complaint bad for non-joinder.  3rd opposite party has also raised a contention that it has been impleaded unnecessarily.  In so far as impleadment of 4th opposite party is concerned, he has admittedly signed Ext.P3 termination voucher along with 1st opposite party.  3rd opposite party was the first agency from which complainant had taken his LPG connection initially.  Apparently both opposite parties 3 and 4 are only formal parties, since no releifs are claimed from them. Their impleadment will not                                                                                                                (cont….5)

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amount to misjoinder.  In the complaint, allegations are mainly against 1st and 2nd opposite parties.  Complainant does not have a case that M/s. Bharat Petroleum Corporation has vicarious liability for the latches purportedly of 2nd opposite party.  Relief can be confined to  2nd  opposite party, if any allegation is proved on it’s side.  Therefore, we find that complaint is not bad for non-joinder.  Point No.1 is answered accordingly.


7.  Point No.2 and 3 are considered together :


          As rightly pointed out by 4th opposite party, in its written version, most of the allegations are against 2nd opposite party.  It is specifically alleged that despite repeated requests from the complainant for grant of new connection, upon submission of termination voucher, 2nd opposite party had not consented to do so.  However, 1st opposite party has filed a written version stating that termination voucher, copy of which is marked as Ext.P3 does not contain correct details of security deposit.  Complainant had a 2 bottle connection.  However, security amount shown to be deposited in Ext.P3 is not of 2 bottle connection.  Written version of 1st opposite party would reveal that 1st opposite party had intended to issue a fresh voucher to complainant since entire details of security deposit were not given in Ext.P3.  According to 1st opposite party, he had realized the mistake only when complainant had telephoned him and informed that Ext.P3 does not contain entire details. That this was a clerical error from his side. As per written version filed, 1st opposite party has contended that he had informed Nodal Officer of Indane Gas vide Ext.P2 e-mail  regarding  the discrepancy.  He would further submit that complainant had not returned the incorrect termination voucher and therefore he was unable to issue a new one incorporating all necessary details.  It is also mentioned in the written version that complainant was laid up due to an accident and therefore his inability to come and hand over the incorrect termination voucher in person.  When 1st opposite party had knowledge about complainant’s inability, it was his duty to see that the mistake committed by him is rectified with least inconvenience to complainant.  He ought to have made arrangements for collecting the incorrect termination voucher from complainant and to issue a new one complete in all respects to complainant. He has not done so.   Though complainant has stated in his proof affidavit that he had handed over the original of Ext.P3 termination voucher to 1st opposite party and that it was accepted by him, we are not inclined to believe this in the absence of pleadings as the fact is disputed and challenged in cross examination.  We also notice that the complainant does not say the date on which original of Ext.P3 was returned by him to 1st opposite party.  Yet another aspect which has come out in evidence is that complainant’s wife had obtained a gas connection in her name, apparently in the same address as that of complainant as per Ext.R1 series, on 27.6.2018.  This aspect has been admitted by complainant during his cross examination.  He had surrendered his gas connection for transfer to 2nd opposite party on 4.5.2018.  Hence contentions taken by                                                                                                           (cont….6)

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complainant that he had to live without a gas connection for 7 months are not correct.  Considering materials on record, we find that 2nd opposite party was justified in not issuing a gas connection as the termination voucher disclosing entire and correct details with regard to security deposit was not given by complainant.  From the written version filed by 1st opposite party, it is evident that termination voucher should contain all details with regard to security deposit apart from other information.  Therefore,            2nd opposite party cannot be mulched with any liability for non-issuance of fresh connection to complainant on the basis of Ext.P3.  Admittedly, termination voucher issued by 1st opposite party did not contain entire details or contained incorrect details with regard to the security deposit made by complainant.  When it is admitted that the mistake is from the side of 1st opposite party, he ought to have corrected the same also without any inconvenience to the consumer who is the complainant herein.  Written version itself reveals that complainant was unable to collect a fresh termination voucher containing entire details of his connection after handing over the faulty one to 1st opposite party, as he was laid up due to injury sustained in an accident.  Even after knowing about this, 1st opposite party has not made any arrangement for collecting incorrect termination voucher from complainant and giving him a new termination voucher containing all details.  We find that there is deficiency in service in this regard by 1st opposite party for the said reason.


          As far as 3rd and 4th opposite parties are concerned, we find no acts of commission or omission from their side which could be considered as deficiency in service.  As mentioned earlier, 2nd opposite party also cannot be found fault with for not issuing a fresh connection to complainant.


          Now the next question is what should be the relief granted to complainant with regard to deficiency in service from the side of 1st opposite party.  Though the complainant claims that he had to adjust without any gas connection for 7 months, we find that this is not correct since a new gas connection was obtained by his wife in the same address, going by Ext.R1 series.  Indeed complainant is to be compensated for deficiency in service.  But the compensation claimed when considered along with the short  period to which complainant was  inconvenienced, upon a fair estimate, according to us, can be fixed at Rs.10,000/-.  Litigation costs claimed are excessive which can be, upon a fair estimate, pegged at Rs.2000/-.  Complainant is entitled for getting this compensation and litigation costs from 1st opposite party in so far as 1st prayer is concerned, it has become redundant in view of the fact that there is admittedly a gas connection in the same address and therefore a 2nd one in the name of other spouse.  Point Nos.2 and 3 are answered accordingly.





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8.  Point No.4 :


          In the result, complaint is allowed in part, upon the following terms :


1.  Opposite party No.1 is directed to pay a sum of Rs.10,000/- as compensation to complainant for deficiency in service with interest at the rate of 12% per annum from the date of this complaint, i.e., 13.12.2018 , till payment or realization.


2. Opposite party No.1 is further directed to pay litigation cost of Rs.2000/- to complainant.


Amount ordered to be paid as per clause Nos.1 and 2 shall be paid within a period of 45 days from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.  Complaint against opposite parties 2 to 4 is hereby dismissed, considering the circumstances, without costs.  Parties shall take back extra sets of copies, without delay. 


                   Pronounced by this Commission on this the   5th  day of  May, 2023



                                                SRI. C. SURESHKUMAR, PRESIDENT























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Depositions :

On the side of the Complainant :

PW1        - T.U. Francis.

On the side of the Opposite Party :


Exhibits :

On the side of the Complainant :

Ext.P1    -  Copy of consumer book of the complainant.

Ext.P2    -  Copy of request given by complainant to transfer the gas connection.

Ext.P3    -  Copy of termination voucher.

Ext.P4    -  Copy of request for releasing new gas connection.

On the side of the Opposite Party :

Ext.R1    -  Copy of documents relating to connection in the name of complainant’s wife.

Ext.R2    -  Print out of e-mail sent by complainant. 



                                                                             Forwarded by Order,



                                                                        ASSISTANT REGISTRAR

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