O R D E R:

Justice Arun Kumar Goel (Retd.) President, (Oral).

Appellant is aggrieved from the order dated 12.9.2007, passed by District Forum, Shimla in Consumer Complaint No. 267/2006. Paras 2 and 3 of this order which are relevant for deciding this appeal are extracted hereinbelow:-

2. The OPs-BSNL shall have to take into consideration these facts and circumstances. Let, therefore, enquiry be conducted. Accordingly, we order the OPs-BSNL to enquire into the matter, come to a definite conclusion with regarding to the reasons or manner causing this excessive telephone tariff qua the number in hand and associate the complainant while holding the enquiry in the case in hand and give him at least 15 days prior notice.

3. After completion of such investigation/enquiry, and taking into account the previous consumption trend of the complainant, the OPs-BSNL shall provide suitable rebate to the complainant as per enquiry report and issue a revised bill in accordance with the procedure governing the issuance of telephone tariff bills. The OPs-BSNL shall also associate the complainant in the enquiry proceedings. It is made clear that while granting rebate to the complainant, the OPs-BSNL shall take into account the previous consumption trend and on the basis of the enquiry report, the revised bills be accordingly issued. The complainant will be at liberty to agitate the matter, if not satisfied with the revised bill of telephone tariff. The OPs-BSNL is directed to complete the enquiry in the instant case within a period of forty-five days from the date of receipt of copy of this order. A copy of the inquiry report shall also be made available to this Forum for perusal. With these observations the complaint stands disposed of. The office shall make available a copy of this order to the parties free of cost, as per procedure. The file after due completion, be consigned to record room.

2. Learned counsel for the appellant submitted that instead of complying with this order, respondent conducted the enquiry behind his back as well as treating the above extracted order as non-est. Thus according to him this order has been followed more in breach than compliance by the respondents. This stand on behalf of the appellant was seriously contested and resisted by Mr. Chauhan. In the face of the order that we propose to pass today, we feel that we need not go into this controversy.

3. Admittedly complaint has not been adjudicated upon its merits on the basis of the pleadings and evidence produced by the parties, whereas it is the statutory duty of the District Fora to have decided the controversy on the basis of the material that was before it. In this behalf Mr. Chauhan submitted that the order passed by District Forum below is most innocuous and does not prejudice the appellant in any manner whatsoever, therefore, he prayed for dismissal of this appeal with costs.

4. Without expressing any opinion so far merits of the complaint filed by the appellant, we think it just and proper, as well as necessary to allow this appeal by setting aside the impugned order dated 12.9.2007, with a direction to the District Forum below to restore the said complaint to its original number and date and then dispose of the same on the basis of the material on record.

5. At this stage learned counsel for the parties submitted that pleadings as well as evidence are complete, only case has to be argued. In these circumstances we direct that the District Forum below shall dispose of the complaint at the earliest and in no case later than 30th September, 2009, without being prejudiced either from its previous order or from the enquiry report or from any decision that may have been taken by the respondents on such report. Time frame is to be strictly adhered to by the District Forum below, and the learned counsel for the parties have assured as well as undertaken to render all possible assistance for the disposal of the complaint within the said time frame.

Since parties are duly represented, as such through their learned counsel they are directed to appear before the District Forum below on 1.7.2009. Office will ensure that the file is transmitted well before the date fixed.

Learned counsel for the parties have undertaken to collect copy of this order from the Court Secretary free of cost as per rules.


17th June, 2009. (Justice Arun Kumar Goel) Retd.

/K/ President.

(Chander Shekher Sharma)