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Thread: Punjab State Electricity Board

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    Default Punjab State Electricity Board

    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.



    Complaint No: 174 of 2008

    Instituted On: 10.12.2008

    Date of Service: 29.12.2008

    Decided On: 16.03.2009



    Balvir Singh (aged 55 years) son of Balwant Singh son of Sunder Singh, resident of village: Sadda Singh Wala, Tehsil & Distt.Moga.



    …..Complainant.



    Versus



    1. Punjab State Electricity Board, through Secretary, The Mall, Patiala.

    2. Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, G.T.Road, Moga.

    3. Sub Divisional Officer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Sub Division, Dagru.

    ……Opposite Parties.



    Complaint under section 12 of The

    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.



    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.

    Sh.J.S.Mallah, Member.



    Present: Sh.Sukhdev Singh, Adv.counsel for the complainant.

    Sh.S.K.Dhir, Adv. counsel for the OPs-Board.



    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)

    Sh.Balvir Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Secretary, The Mall, Patiala (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’) and others-opposite parties directing them to quash the demand of Rs.19893/- raised vide bill dated 16.11.2008 and also to pay Rs.50000/- as compensation on account of harassment and mental tension or any other relief to which this Forum may deem fit be granted.

    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Balvir Singh complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having NRS electric connection bearing account no.F27SW29/0102X installed at his premises with sanctioned load of 1.00 KW in the name of his father Balwant Singh, who has died and after his death, the complainant has been using the said connection and paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against him. That about 25 years ago, the complainant alongwith his family constructed his house outside the village and also constructed two shops to establish complaint centre and to place the equipments of OPs-Board and they used the said premises for 25 years without paying any rent. That now complainant wants to vacate the said premises and under this grudge, the OPs-Board intentionally and willfully changed his tariff from DS to NRS. That on 16.11.2008, the complainant received a bill in which the OPs-Board raised a demand of Rs.20280/- as sundry charges without explaining any reason. That the complainant visited the office of the OPs-Board and requested them to explain the impugned amount, but to no effect. That no notice was ever issued to him before adding the same in his consumption bill. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board has caused great inconvenience, harassment and mental agony to him for which he has claimed Rs.50000/- as compensation beside costs of the litigation. Hence the present complaint.

    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.S.K.Dhir, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable in the present form; that there is no deficiency in service on the part of OPs-Board; that the complainant has concealed the true facts from the knowledge of this Forum and that the complainant is not a ‘consumer’ under the Act as the electric connection in question has been installed in the name of Balwant Singh son of Sunder Singh and therefore, the complainant is not a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board. In fact, on 15.09.2008 Sh.Sohan Singh, AE, Dagru Sub Divison of the OPs-Board checked the electric connection in question in the presence of the complainant and found him stealing the electricity by fixing the direct wire from main line. The meter was not recording the consumption on the spot and electricity was running. The checking was made in the presence of the complainant, but he refused to sign the checking report. That the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. Thereafter, notice no. 3686 dated 23.09.2008 of provisional order of assessment for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ was served upon the complainant to deposit Rs.19893/- under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 and the impugned demand was raised by them, but the same was not deposited by the complainant. It was further averred that no cause of action arose to the complainant against OPs-Board. That the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover the same. On merits, the OPs-Board took up the same and similar plea as taken up by them in preliminary objections. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.

    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copies of bills Ex.A2 to Ex.A8, copy of application Ex.A9, affidavits of Davinder Kumar Ex.A10 and of Jagdev Singh Ex.A11 and closed his evidence.

    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Jaspreet Singh, Sr. XEN, affidavit Ex.R2 of Sohan Singh AE, copy of checking report Ex.R3, copy of notice Ex.R4 and closed their evidence.

    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.Balvir Singh ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.S.K.Dhir ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.

    7. Sh.S.K.Dhir ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has mainly argued that Balvir Singh complainant is not a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board because the connection in question was issued in the name of Balwant Singh. This contention of the ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has no force. Admittedly, the electric connection in question was issued in the name of Balwant Singh father of the complainant who has died. After his death, the connection in question was used by the complainant being his son who used to pay regularly the consumption charges. This fact has not been controverted by the ld.counsel for the OPs-Board. In view of aforesaid facts and circumstances, we therefore, hold that Balvir Singh complainant being beneficiary is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board. Our this view stands fortified by our own Hon’ble State Commission, Pb. Chandigarh in Appeal No.218 of 2004 (Ashwani Kumar Vs. Punjab State Electricity Board and Ors.) decided on 16.8.2005. The relevant portion is reproduced as under:-

    “Suffice it to say that in case of Ashwani Kumar he is the owner in possession of the premises though the connection is in the name of Kartar Devi and is actually the consumer of the electricity and therefore, a ‘consumer’’



    8. Sh.Sukhdev Singh, ld.counsel for the complainant has mainly argued that the impugned demand of Rs.19893/- raised vide bill dated 16.11.2008 by the OPs-Board is wrong and illegal. This contention of the ld.counsel for the complainant has no merit. Admittedly, on 15.9.2008 Sh.Sohan Singh, AE, Dagru Sub Division of the OPs-Board checked the electric connection in question and found the complainant using the energy illegally i.e. by fixing the direct wire from main line. The meter was not recording the consumption on the spot and electricity was running. The checking was made in the presence of the complainant, but he refused to sign the checking report. The checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. He prepared the detailed report on the spot and on the basis of the said checking report, the demand of Rs.19893/- was raised from the complainant. To further corroborate the aforesaid allegations against the complainant, the OPs-Board has produced affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Jaspreet Singh, Sr. XEN, affidavit Ex.R2 of Sohan Singh AE, copy of checking report Ex.R3, copy of notice Ex.R4.

    9. Further, the complainant has failed to lead any cogent and convincing evidence to prove that he was not committing ‘theft of electricity’ except his own affidavit Ex.A1. There is no corroboration to his affidavit that he was not stealing the electricity by illegal means. Moreover, he has reason to give false affidavit in order to save himself from the consequences of being caught red handed while stealing the electricity by illegal means. Thus, no reliance could be placed on the affidavit Ex.A1 of the complainant and we discard the same.

    10. Now the question for determination is whether the complainant is liable to pay Rs.19893/- on account of ‘theft of energy’ as per the Electricity Act, 2003. The answer to this question is partly in negative. The OPs-Board has not strictly complied with the provisions of new Electricity Act, 2003. Admittedly, the electric connection installed at the premises of the complainant is NRS. Under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 in case of ‘theft of energy’, the NRS consumer at the most can be charged by taking the demand factor of 40%. Copy of checking report Ex.R3 issued by the OPs-Board as well as written reply and affidavit Ex.R1 show that they have charged the impugned amount by taking the demand factor as 100% instead of 40%. Thus, we are of the opinion that the impugned demand of Rs.19893/- raised vide bill dated 16.11.2008 from the complainant is liable to be set aside and quashed. However, the OPs-Board can charge the complainant for ‘theft of energy’ by taking the demand factor as 40% under the said Act.

    11. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.

    12. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint filed by the complainant is partly accepted and the demand of Rs.19893/- raised by the OPs-Board vide bill dated 16.11.2008 from the complainant is set aside and quashed. However, the OPs-Board is entitled to issue fresh notice/ demand on account of ‘theft of energy’ taking the demand factor as 40% and the complainant shall deposit the same within 15 days from the date of receipt of the notice. In view of the peculiar circumstances of the case, the parties are left to bear their own costs. Copies of the order be sent to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.



    (Jit Singh Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)

    Member President

    Announced in Open Forum.

    Dated:16.03.2009.

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 16 of 2009
    Instituted On: 15.01.2009
    Date of Service: 30.01.2009
    Decided On: 19.03.2009
    Boota Singh son of Sh.Veer Singh, Teacher resident of Patti Meharmian, VPO Smadh Bhai, Tehsil Baghapurana, Distt.Moga.
    …..Complainant.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board, through its
    i) Executive Engineer, Bagha Purana.
    ii) Sub Divisional Officer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Smadh Bhai, Tehsil Baghapurana District Moga,.
    …Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Sh.J.S.Mallah, Member.

    Present: Sh.V.K.Jindal,Adv.counsel for the complainant.
    Sh.Ajay Gulati, Adv. counsel for the OPs.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)


    Sh.Boota Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Executive Engineer, Baghapurana (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’) and another-opposite parties directing them to quash the demand of Rs.40789/- raised vide bill dated 25.11.2008 and also to pay Rs.50000/- as compensation on account of harassment and mental tension besides Rs.2200/- as costs of litigation.


    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Boota Singh complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having domestic electric connection bearing account no.MP25-0026X installed at his residential premises with sanctioned load of 0.66 KW. That the complainant has been paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against him. That the complainant received memos no. 931 & 932 dated 24.04.2008 from the OPs-Board vide which they demanded Rs.2100/- & Rs.9424/- respectively by leveling false allegations of ‘theft of energy’ & excess load, which he deposited. That now the complainant has received a bill dated 25.11.2008 for Rs.40789/- as sundry charges. That the bill in question is illegal, unlawful and against the instructions of Board. That no prior notice or supplementary bill was served upon the complainant. That the complainant visited the office of the OPs-Board and requested to withdraw the impugned amount, but to no effect. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board has caused great inconvenience, harassment and mental agony to him for which he has claimed Rs.50000/- as compensation beside costs of the litigation. Hence the present complaint.



    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.Ajay Gulati, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable; that the complainant has no locus standie to file the present complaint; that the complainant is estopped by his act and conduct to file the present complaint as he was found committing theft of electricity; that this Forum has got no jurisdiction to try and decide the present complaint; that the complainant has already deposited the amount of compensation without any protest, hence the present complaint does not lie under the provisions of Sales Regulation Instruction No.145 and that there is no deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board; On merits, it was averred that in fact, the complainant himself had admitted that he had been indulging in commission of theft of electricity and resultantly the complainant was charged compensation/ penalty by applying 30% factor and afterwards the audit department applied 100% factor and calculated the amount of compensation/ penalty upto the extent of Rs.40789/-. Hence, the impugned amount has been added in the consumption bill dated 25.11.2008 of the complainant to which the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.



    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copies of bills-cum-receipts Ex.A2 to Ex.A7, copies of notice Ex.A8 and Ex.A10, copy of receipt Ex.A9, copies of receipts Ex.A11 and Ex.A12, copies of bills Ex.A13 to Ex.A15 and closed his evidence.



    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence joint affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh. M.S.Brar Addl. S.E and Er.Sukhdev Singh, AE, copies of notices Ex.R2 and Ex.R3, copy of half margin report Ex.R4, copy of checking report Ex.R5, copy of register Ex.R6 and closed their evidence.



    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.V.K.Jindal ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.Ajay Gulati ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.



    7. Sh.V.K.Jindal ld.counsel for the complainant has mainly argued that the impugned demand of Rs.40789/- raised vide bill dated 25.11.2008 by the OPs-Board is wrong and illegal because the complainant had already paid Rs.9424/- and Rs.2100/- on 23.05.2008 on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ and excess load. This contention of the ld.counsel for the complainant has full force. Admittedly, the OPs-Board found the complainant using the unauthorized electricity and excess load and vide notices dated 24.04.2008 he was directed to pay Rs.9424/- and Rs.2100/- respectively which he deposited on 23.05.2008.



    8. Now it is contended by ld.counsel for the OPs-Board that they have charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor whereas he was to be charged by taking 100% load factor. This contention of the ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has no merit. Circular 53/2006 of the OPs-Board shows that in cases of theft/ unauthorized use of electricity, a domestic consumer can be charged by taking 30% load factor. The case of the complainant who is a domestic consumer does not fall under direct theft mentioned in category ‘e’ of rule (1) of said circular. Thus, the OPs-Board has wrongly issued the fresh notice to him directing to pay the difference of the amount on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 100% load factor instead of 30% already charged.



    9. Moreover, the OPs-Board is estopped by their act and conduct to raise the impugned demand when they have already charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor. Hence, the OPs-Board has wrongly and illegally issued the impugned notice to the complainant to pay the difference of charges on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. Thus, there is deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board in demanding the impugned amount and we quash and set aside the same.




    10. To prove the aforesaid contention, the complainant produced his affidavit Ex.A1, copies of bills-cum-receipts Ex.A2 to Ex.A7, copies of notice Ex.A8 and Ex.A10, copy of receipt Ex.A9, copies of receipts Ex.A11 and Ex.A12, copies of bills Ex.A13 to Ex.A15 and we believe and rely upon the same. On the other hand, no reliance could be placed on the joint affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh. M.S.Brar Addl. S.E and Er.Sukhdev Singh, AE and documents Ex.R2 to Ex.R6 and we discard the same.



    11. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.



    12. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint filed by the complainant has merit and the same is accepted. Hence, the impugned demand of Rs.40789/- raised by the OPs-Board vide bill dated 25.11.2008 is set aside and quashed. The OPs-Board is also directed to pay Rs.2000/- as compensation to the complainant for mental tension, agony and harassment. Copies of the order be sent to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.

    (Jit Singh Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member President

    Announced in Open Forum.
    Dated:19.03.2009.

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 102 of 2008
    Instituted On: 22.12.2008
    Date of Service: 15.01.2009
    Decided On: 19.03.2009
    Ram Singh (aged 35 years) son of Sh.Nahar Singh resident of village: Daudhar Garbi, near Halti, Tehsil and District Moga.
    …..Complainant.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board, service be got effected through Secretary, The Mall, Patiala.
    2. Executive Engineer, Sub Urban Division, Punjab State Electricity Board, Moga.
    3. Sub Divisional Officer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Ajitwal, District Moga.

    …Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Sh.J.S.Mallah, Member.

    Present: Sh.Pardeep Bharti,Adv.counsel for the complainant.
    Sh.Ajay Gulati, Adv. counsel for the OPs-Board.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)
    Sh.Ram Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Secretary, The Mall, Patiala (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’) and others-opposite parties directing them to quash the demand of Rs.46760/- raised vide bill dated 02.12.2008 and also to pay Rs.10000/- as compensation on account of harassment and mental tension or any other relief to which this Forum may deem fit be granted.



    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Ram Singh complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having domestic electric connection bearing account no.F51DF782095Y installed at his residential premises with sanctioned load of 2.80 KW. That the complainant has been using the said connection and paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against him. That earlier the complainant received a notice dated 6.2.2008 from the OPs-Board vide which they demanded Rs.14569/-. That the average consumption of the complainant never exceeded Rs.500/- bi-monthly. That Gurpartap Singh, J.E. due to his personal grudge against him has lavelled the false allegation of ‘theft of energy’. That the demand raised by the OPs-Board is against the mandatory provisions of the law. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board has caused great inconvenience, harassment and mental agony to him for which he has claimed Rs.10000/- as compensation beside costs of the litigation. Hence the present complaint.



    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.Ajay Gulati, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable in the present form; that the complainant has already deposited the amount of Rs.14589/- without any protest; that this Forum has got no jurisdiction to try and decide the present complaint; that the complainant is estopped by his act and conduct to file the present complaint and that there is no deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board. On merits, it was averred that in fact, on 04.02.2008 Sh.Gurpartap Singh, Junior Engineer, PSEB, Sub Division, Ajitwal checked the electric connection in question in the presence of the complainant and found him committing theft of electricity by way of kundi connection i.e. directly taping main PVC wire. The electricity meter was stopped and was not recording consumption. The checking was made in the presence of the complainant, but he refused to sign the checking report. That the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. Thereafter, notice dated 06.02.2008 of provisional order of assessment for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ was served upon the complainant to deposit Rs.14569/- under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 and the impugned demand raised by them was deposited by the complainant. That the said amount has been calculated taking the load factor as 30%. That the audit party vide its half margin no.119 of 5/08 detected this mistake and raised further demand of Rs.46517/- on account of difference of amount of ‘theft of electricity’ vide notice no. 2724 dated 24.10.2008, but the complainant did not deposit the same. Hence, the impugned amount has been added in the consumption bill of the complainant dated 02.12.2008 to which the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.




    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copies of bills Ex.A2 to Ex.A6 and closed his evidence.


    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.D.S.Toor, Sr.XEN , copy of notice Ex.R2, copy of half margin Ex.R3, copy of another notice Ex.R4 and closed their evidence.



    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.Pardeep Bharti, ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.Ajay Gulati, ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.



    7. Sh.Pardeep Bharti ld.counsel for the complainant has mainly argued that the impugned demand of Rs.46760/- raised vide bill dated 02.12.2008 by the OPs-Board is wrong and illegal because the complainant had already paid Rs.14589/- on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. This contention of the ld.counsel for the complainant has full force. Admittedly, the OPs-Board found the complainant using the unauthorized electricity and vide notice dated 06.02.2008 he was directed to pay Rs.14589/- which he deposited.



    8. Now it is contended by ld.counsel for the OPs-Board that they have charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor whereas he was to be charged by taking 100% load factor. This contention of the ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has no merit. Circular 53/2006 of the OPs-Board shows that in cases of theft/ unauthorized use of electricity, a domestic consumer can be charged by taking 30% load factor. The case of the complainant who is a domestic consumer does not fall under direct theft mentioned in category ‘e’ of rule (1) of said circular. Thus, the OPs-Board has wrongly issued the fresh notice to him directing to pay the difference of the amount on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 100% load factor instead of 30% already charged.




    9. Moreover, the OPs-Board is estopped by their act and conduct to raise the impugned demand when they have already charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor. Hence, the OPs-Board has wrongly and illegally issued the impugned notice to the complainant to pay the difference of charges on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. Thus, there is deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board in demanding the impugned amount and we quash and set aside the same.



    10. To prove the aforesaid contention, the complainant produced his affidavit Ex.A1, copies of bills Ex.A2 to Ex.A6 and we believe and rely upon the same. On the other hand, no reliance could be placed on affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.D.S.Toor, Sr.XEN and documents Ex.R2 to Ex.R4 and we discard the same.



    11. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.



    12. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint filed by the complainant has merit and the same is accepted. Hence, the impugned demand of Rs.46760/- raised by the OPs-Board vide bill dated 02.12.2008 is set aside and quashed. The OPs-Board is also directed to pay Rs.1000/- as compensation on account of mental tension, agony and harassment. Copies of the order be sent to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.

    (Jit Singh Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member President

    Announced in Open Forum.
    Dated:19.03.2009.

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 14 of 2009
    Instituted On: 14.01.2009
    Date of Service: 29.01.2009
    Decided On: 20.03.2009
    Mohan Singh (aged 50 years) son of Sh.Labh Singh, resident of VPO: Smalsar, Distt.Moga.
    …..Complainants.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board, through its Secretary, The Mall, Patiala.
    2. Senior Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Baghapurana.
    3. Sub Divisional Officer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Suburban, Baghapurana.
    ……Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Smt.Bhupinder Kaur, Member.
    Sh.J.S.Mallah, Member

    Present: Sh.Ashok Goyal, Adv.counsel for the complainant.
    Sh.S.K.Dhir, Advocate counsel for the OPs.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)
    Sh.Mohan Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Secretary, The Mall, Patiala and others (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’)-opposite parties directing them to release the motor connection and also to pay Rs.1 lac on account of financial loss and mental and physical harassment.
    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Mohan Singh complainant is an agriculturist and an ex-serviceman from army having agricultural land at village Langiana Nawan, District Moga. That the complainant had applied for motor connection out of reserve quota for ex-servicemen and deposited Rs.1000/- on 10.02.2006, vide receipt no.74 with the OPs-Board. Lateron, the complainant received a demand notice from the OPs-Board, which the complainant deposited vide receipt no.559 and 592 for Rs.23500/- with them. Acting upon the said notice, the complainant completed all the requirements and formalities for motor connection including digging of bore and fitting of electric motor. Even poles and wires were also got erected for which he incurred expenses of Rs.1 lac, but the OPs-Board did not release the motor connection to him. It was further alleged that if he was not eligible for motor connection then why notice was issued to him. Both under law and equity, the complainant is entitled to be issued motor connection at the earliest and he has been deprived of his said right without any reason. Thereafter, the complainant visited the office of the OPs-Board time and again for the release of motor connection, but to no effect. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board had caused financial loss and mental and physical harassment to him for which he has claimed Rs.1 lac. Hence the present complaint.
    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.S.K.Dhir, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable; that there is no deficiency in service on the part of the Ops-Board and that the complaint is pre-mature. On merits, it was averred that in fact as per the seniority list, the turn of the complainant has not yet come. Moreover, as per the instructions and regulation of the Board and as per commercial circular no.55/2008, for release of AP tubewell connections under general category, the test reports received against applications registered upto 31.3.1990 under general category shall be given overriding priority for release of their tubewell connections over all other categories except AP tubewell connections to be released under chairman’s discretionary quota. For allowing overriding priority, roster shall not be followed in their case. This work shall be completed by 31.3.2009 positively. That the complainant has been informed all the aforesaid facts that his turn has not come and that he should wait but he has filed the present complaint only to pressurize and harass the OPs-Board. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.
    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copies of receipts Ex.A2 to Ex.A4, copy of notice Ex.A5, postal receipts Ex.A6 to Ex.A8 and closed his evidence.
    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Mohinder Singh Brar, XEN, copy of seniority list Ex.R2, copy of circular Ex.R3 and closed their evidence.
    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.Ashok Goyal, ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.S.K.Dhir ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.
    7. The facts of this case are not disputed. The complainant had applied for tubewell connection and on receipt of the demand notice from the OPs-Board, he deposited Rs.23500/- (Rs.15500/- on 22.11.2006 vide receipt no.559 Ex.A3 and Rs.8000/- on 29.11.2006 vide receipt no.592 Ex.A2 respectively) and also completed all the formalities. But the tubewell connection could not have been released to him for shortage of materials/ infrastructure. Moreover the turn of the complainant has not come as yet. The facts of this case are similar and same as that of the R.P no.2950 of 2005 PSEB Vs. Dalwara Singh, R.P. no. 2951 of 2005 PSEB Vs. Major Singh, R.P.No.2952 of 2005 PSEB Vs. Bant Singh and R.P.No.2953 of 2005 PSEB Vs.Babu Singh. The Hon’ble National Commission on 29.11.2005 followed the decision of Apex Court modified in the case of PunjabState Electricity Board Vs.Zora Singh, decided on 11.8.2005 (SLP © No.22352-22423/2003) in the aforesaid appeals. Therefore, the same order as modified by the Apex Court has to be passed in the present complaint also.
    8. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.
    9. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances the complaint filed by the complainant is partly accepted. The OPs-Board is directed to release the tubewell connection to the complainant on his turn. Meanwhile the OPs-Board shall refund the amount of Rs.23500/- to the complainant alongwith interest @ 9% per annum from the date of its deposit till its payment. The seniority of the complainant would be determined from the date of registration of the application and not from the date of the demand notice issued. The acceptance of the said amount by the complainant will not amount to the cancellation of his application for tubewell connection. The OPs-Board shall also pay compensation of Rs.5000/- for harassment, mental agony and costs of litigation. Copies of this order shall be supplied to the parties free of costs and thereafter, the file be consigned to the record room.

    (J.S.Mallah) (Bhupinder Kaur) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member Member President

    Announced in Open Forum.
    Dated:20.03.2009.

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 185 of 2008
    Instituted On: 26.12.2008
    Date of Service: 21.01.2009
    Decided On: 20.03.2009
    Nirbhai Singh (aged 51 years) son of Budh Singh, resident of village: Sangat Pura, Tehsil: Bagha Purana, Distt.Moga.

    …..Complainant.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board through its Chairman, PSEB, Patiala.
    2. XEN, Punjab State Electricity Board, Bagha Purana.
    3. Asstt. Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Smadh Bhai, District Moga.
    ……Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Smt.Bhupinder Kaur, Member.
    Sh.J.S.Mallah, Member.

    Present: Sh.Nirbhai Singh, complainant in person.
    Sh.S.K.Dhir, Adv. counsel for the OPs.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)
    Sh.Nirbhai Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Chairman, Patiala and others (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’) -opposite parties directing them to quash the illegal demand of Rs.8757/- raised vide bill dated 15.12.2008 and also to pay Rs.10000/- as compensation on account of mental tension and harassment or any other relief to which this Forum may deem fit be granted.




    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Nirbhai Singh complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having domestic electric connection bearing account no.SP48/0203K installed at his residential premises with sanctioned load of 2.68 KW. That the complainant has been paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against him. That previously the complainant received a notice from the OPs-Board vide which they demanded Rs.3394/- on account of ‘theft of energy’ which he deposited on 20.12.2007. That now again, he received a bill dated 15.12.2008 vide which the OPs-Board raised a demand of Rs.8757/- on account of ‘theft of energy’. That the complainant never committed ‘theft of energy’. That the complainant visited the office of the OPs-Board and requested to withdraw the impugned amount, but to no effect. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board has caused great inconvenience, harassment and mental agony to him for which he has claimed Rs.10000/- as compensation beside costs of the litigation. Hence the present complaint.



    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.S.K.Dhir, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable in the present form; that there is no deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board. In fact, on 27.11.2007 Sh.Satwant Singh, AEE, PSEB, Bagha Purana checked the electric connection in question in the presence of the complainant and found him stealing the electricity by fixing direct wire from service line by bye-passing the meter. The meter was not recording any consumption. The checking was made in the presence of the complainant, but he refused to sign the checking report. That the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. Thereafter, notice no.2202 dated 7.12.2007 of provisional order of assessment for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ was served upon the complainant to deposit Rs.3394/- under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 and the impugned demand raised by them was deposited by the complainant. That the said amount has been calculated taking the load factor as 30%. Thereafter, clarification of Chief Engineer, PSEB Patiala was received vide which in ‘theft cases’ the amount to be calculated was by taking 100% load factor. Accordingly, the audit party vide its half margin no.1 of 9/08 detected this mistake and raised further demand of Rs.8757/- on account of difference of amount of ‘theft of electricity’ vide notice, but the complainant did not deposit the same. Hence, the impugned amount has been added in the consumption bill of the complainant dated 15.12.2008 to which the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover. On merits, the OPs-Board took up the same and similar plea as taken up by them in preliminary objections. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.



    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of receipt Ex.A2, copy of notice Ex.A3, copies of bills Ex.A4 and Ex.A5 and closed his evidence.


    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.M.S.Brar, Addl.S.E., copy of checking report Ex.R2, copy of notice Ex.R3, copy of half margin Ex.R4, copy of sundry register Ex.R5 and closed their evidence.



    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.Nirbhai Singh complainant and Sh.S.K.Dhir ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.



    7. Sh.Nirbhai Singh complainant has mainly argued that the impugned demand of Rs.8757/- raised vide bill dated 15.12.2008 by the OPs-Board is wrong and illegal because the complainant had already paid Rs.3394/- on 20.12.2007 on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. This contention of the ld.counsel for the complainant has full force. Admittedly, the OPs-Board found the complainant using the unauthorized electricity and vide notice no.2202 dated 07.12.2007 he was directed to pay Rs.3394/- which he deposited on 20.12.2007.




    8. Now it is contended by ld.counsel for the OPs-Board that they have charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor whereas he was to be charged by taking 100% load factor. This contention of the ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has no merit. Circular 53/2006 of the OPs-Board shows that in cases of theft/ unauthorized use of electricity, a domestic consumer can be charged by taking 30% load factor. The case of the complainant who is a domestic consumer does not fall under direct theft mentioned in category ‘e’ of rule (1) of said circular. Thus, the OPs-Board has wrongly issued the fresh notice to him directing to pay the difference of the amount on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 100% load factor instead of 30% already charged.



    9. Moreover, the OPs-Board is estopped by their act and conduct to raise the impugned demand when they have already charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor. Hence, the OPs-Board has wrongly and illegally issued the impugned notice to the complainant to pay the difference of charges on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. Thus, there is deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board in demanding the impugned amount and we quash and set aside the same.




    10. To prove the aforesaid contention, the complainant produced his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of receipt Ex.A2, copy of notice Ex.A3, copies of bills Ex.A4 and Ex.A5 and we believe and rely upon the same. On the other hand, no reliance could be placed on affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.M.S.Brar, Addl.S.E and documents Ex.R2 to Ex.R5 and we discard the same.



    11. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.


    12. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint filed by the complainant has merit and the same is accepted. Hence, the impugned demand of Rs.8757/- raised by the OPs-Board vide bill dated 15.12.2008 is set aside and quashed. However, the OPs-Board shall refund/adjust the amount (as per the desire of the complainant), if any, deposited by the complainant as per interim order of this Forum dated 29.12.2008 alongwith interest @ 9% per annum from the date of deposit till its realisation. Keeping in view the peculiar circumstances of the case, the parties are left to bear their own costs. Copies of the order be sent to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.

    (Jit Singh Mallah) (Bhupinder Kaur) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member Member President

    Announced in Open Forum.
    Dated:20.03.2009.

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 15 of 2009
    Instituted On: 14.01.2009
    Date of Service: 30.01.2009
    Decided On: 25.03.2009
    Lahora Singh (aged 65 years) son of Sh.Bachan Singh resident of village and post office; Rode Tehsil Baghapurana District Moga.

    …..Complainants.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board, through its Secretary, The Mall, Patiala.
    2. Senior Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Baghapurana.
    3. Sub Divisional Officer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Suburban, Baghapurana.

    ……Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Sh.J.S.Mallah, Member

    Present: Sh.Ashok Goyal, Adv.counsel for the complainant.
    Sh.R.K.Goyal, Advocate counsel for the OPs.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)
    Sh.Lahora Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Secretary, The Mall, Patiala and others (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’)-opposite parties directing them to release the motor connection and also to pay Rs.1 lac on account of financial loss and mental and physical harassment.


    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Lahora Singh complainant is an agriculturist and an ex-serviceman from army having agricultural land at village Langiana Nawan, District Moga. That the complainant had applied for motor connection out of reserve quota for ex-servicemen and deposited Rs.2000/- on 14.07.2006, vide receipt no.343 with the OPs-Board. Lateron, the complainant received a demand notice no.671 dated 16.4.2007 from the OPs-Board demanding Rs.30000/-, which the complainant deposited vide receipt no.123 with them. Acting upon the said notice, the complainant completed all the requirements and formalities for motor connection including digging of bore and fitting of electric motor. Even poles and wires were also got erected for which he incurred expenses of Rs.1 lac, but the OPs-Board did not release the motor connection to him. It was further alleged that if he was not eligible for motor connection then why notice was issued to him. Both under law and equity, the complainant is entitled to be issued motor connection at the earliest and he has been deprived of his said right without any reason. Thereafter, the complainant visited the office of the OPs-Board time and again for the release of motor connection, but to no effect. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board had caused financial loss and mental and physical harassment to him for which he has claimed Rs.1 lac. Hence the present complaint.



    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.R.K.Goyal,Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is pre-mature and is not maintainable. On merits, it was averred that the actual facts are that there is seniority list prepared by the OPs-Board for issuing the tubewell connection to ex-servicemen and the complainant is at serial no.6. This list is prepared when a person/applicant complete all the formalities in respect for getting tubewell connection. It was further averred that the connection has not been released to first five applicants who are senior to the complainant and the turn of the complainant has not yet come. Therefore, at this stage, he is not entitled to get released the said connection. That the complainant has been informed all the aforesaid facts that his turn has not come and that he should wait but he has filed the present complaint only to pressurize and harass the OPs-Board. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.



    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of receipt Ex.A2, copy of demand notice Ex.A3, copy of receipt Ex.A4, copy of legal notice Ex.A5, postal receipts Ex.A6 to Ex.A8, acknowledgement Ex.A9 and closed his evidence.



    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence joint affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Mohinder Singh Brar, XEN and Sh.Sukhwant Singh SDO, copy of seniority list Ex.R2 and closed their evidence.




    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.Ashok Goyal, ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.R.K.Goyal ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.







    7. The facts of this case are not disputed. The complainant had applied for tubewell connection and on receipt of the demand notice from the OPs-Board, he deposited Rs.30000/- on 04.05.2007 vide receipt no.78464 (Ex.A4) and also completed all the formalities. But the tubewell connection could not have been released to him for shortage of materials/ infrastructure. Moreover the turn of the complainant has not come as yet. The facts of this case are similar and same as that of the R.P no.2950 of 2005 PSEB Vs. Dalwara Singh, R.P. no. 2951 of 2005 PSEB Vs. Major Singh, R.P.No.2952 of 2005 PSEB Vs. Bant Singh and R.P.No.2953 of 2005 PSEB Vs.Babu Singh. The Hon’ble National Commission on 29.11.2005 followed the decision of Apex Court modified in the case of PunjabState Electricity Board Vs.Zora Singh, decided on 11.8.2005 (SLP © No.22352-22423/2003) in the aforesaid appeals. Therefore, the same order as modified by the Apex Court has to be passed in the present complaint also.



    8. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.



    9. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances the complaint filed by the complainant is partly accepted. The OPs-Board is directed to release the tubewell connection to the complainant on his turn. Meanwhile the OPs-Board shall refund the amount of Rs.30000/- to the complainant alongwith interest @ 9% per annum from the date of its deposit i.e. 04.05.2007 till its payment. The seniority of the complainant would be determined from the date of registration of the application and not from the date of the demand notice issued. The acceptance of the said amount by the complainant will not amount to the cancellation of his application for tubewell connection. The OPs-Board shall also pay compensation of Rs.5000/- for harassment, mental agony and costs of litigation. Copies of this order shall be supplied to the parties free of costs and thereafter, the file be consigned to the record room.

    (J.S.Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member President

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 136 of 2008
    Instituted On: 08.10.2008
    Date of Service: 20.11.2008
    Decided On: 25.03.2009
    Premjit Kaur (aged 47 years) wife of Sh. Kuldeep Singh son of Sh.Megh Raj, resident of house no.6/647, Dosanj Road, Moga. District Moga.

    Complainant.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board through its Sub Divisional Officer North Sub Division, Akalsar Road, Moga. District Moga.
    2. Punjab State Electricity Board, through its Secretary, The Mall, Patiala.
    Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Sh.J.S.Mallah, Member.

    Present: Sh.Varinder Kashyap, Adv.counsel for complainant.
    Sh.S.K.Dhir, Adv. counsel for OPs-Board.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)
    Smt.Premjit Kaur complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Sub Divisional Officer, North Sub Division, Akalsar Road, Moga and another (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’)-opposite parties directing them to quash the illegal demand of Rs.72414/- raised vide bill dated 03.10.2008 and also to pay Rs.15000/- as compensation for causing mental tension and harassment besides Rs.5000/- as cost of litigation.



    2. Briefly stated, Smt.Premjit Kaur complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having domestic electric connection bearing account no.F54RS920679A installed at her premises with sanctioned load of 8.00 KW. That the complainant had been paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against her. That earlier the connected load of the complainant was 12.06 KW and in the month of April 2008 she made request for the reduction of the load as her children had gone abroad and she was not using the load to that extent. So she deposited fee for the reduction of the load on 24.4.1008. Before filing of the application for reduction of the load, the meter was working accurately. That after the deposit of the required fee, the OPs-Board reduced the load to 8.00 KW and new meter was installed. That the complainant was surprised to receive bill dated



    3.10.2008 vide which the OPs-Board has raised a demand of Rs.72414/- as sundry charges. That on approaching the OPs-Board, their officials told the complainant that the said demand was with regard to old meter which was got checked and found to be defective, but this fact is totally wrong and illegal. That at the time of removal of old meter, it was working accurately with all its seals intact with its status was ‘OK’. That the removed meter was not packed and sealed as per the rules. That no notice about its checking in the M.E.Lab, intimating the date, time and place of checking was ever sent to the complainant. That since the seals of the removed meter were intact, no electricity can be stolen and the OPs-Board illegally declared it as ‘defective’. That no copy of the checking report was provided to the complainant. That no prior notice before adding the impugned demand in the consumption bill was ever sent to the complainant. That the impugned demand raised by the OPs-Board is altogether wrong and illegal and against the prescribed rules and regulations. That the complainant approached the office of OPs-Board time and again and requested to quash the illegal demand, but to no effect. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board had caused great inconvenience, harassment and mental agony to her for which she has claimed compensation. Hence the present complaint.


    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.S.K.Dhir Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable; that there is no deficiency of service on the part of OPs-Board; that the actual facts are that on 21.5.2008 Sh.Tarsem Lal, J.E. changed the old three phase with single phase meter and accordingly, the old meter was sealed and packed in the presence of representative of the complainant, who duly signed the sealed box; that the packed meter was sent to M.E.Lab vide store challan no.45 dated 13.6.2008 and the same was checked by Senior Executive Engineer and other officials who found that the body of the meter tempered with; that before the checking of the said meter, a consent of the complainant was obtained to check the same in her absence. Thus, the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. Thereafter, notice no. 1395 dated 11.7.2008 of provisional assessment for unauthorized use of electricity under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 was issued to the complainant raising a demand of Rs.72414/- on account of ‘theft of energy’, and to file objection, if any, against the said notice; that the complainant did not file any objection and consequently, the provisional assessment after 7 days became final; that the complainant did not deposit the impugned amount. Thereafter, the said amount has been added in the consumption bill in question, to which the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover. On merits, the OPs-Board took up the same and similar pleas as taken up by them in the preliminary objections. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.



    4. In order to prove her case, the complainant tendered in evidence her affidavits Ex.A1 and Ex.A10, copies of bills-cum-receipts Ex.A2 to Ex.A8, copy of receipt Ex.A9, copy of passport Ex.A11 and closed her evidence.



    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.S.S.Sandhu, Addl.S.E, detail Ex.R2, copy of checking report Ex.R3, copy of consent letter Ex.R4, copy of notice Ex.R5, copy of MCO Ex.R6, copy of A & A form Ex.R7, affidavit of Pavittar Singh, Sr.XEN Ex.R8, affidavit of Tarsem Lal JE Ex.R9, copy of store challan Ex.R10 and closed their evidence.



    6. We have heard Sh.Varinder Kashyap ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.V.K.Dhir ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have also gone through the written arguments submitted by the complainant and also carefully perused the evidence on the file.


    7. Sh.Varinder Kashyap ld.counsel for the complainant has mainly argued that the OPs-Board has wrongly and illegally raised the impugned demand of Rs.72414/- on account of ‘theft of energy’ He has further argued that no notice was issued to the complainant to appear in the M.E.Lab and the consent letter Ex.A4 produced by the OPs-Board is forged and fabricated document. He further argued that the complainant never signed in Punjabi as she knows English and always signs in English language. Moreover, the copy of the passport Ex.A11 shows that she had left India on 28th of May 2008 and came back on 27th of July 2008 whereas according to the affidavit Ex.R9 of Tarsem Lal J.E. she executed the alleged consent letter 4 days prior to 13.6.2008.



    8. On the other hand, Sh.S.K.Dhir ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has argued that three phase meter of the complainant was changed on 21.5.2008 and the same was packed and sealed in the card board box in the presence of her representative, who signed the same. The complainant gave the consent 4 days prior to 13.6.2008 wherein she has stated that she has no objection, if the removed meter be checked in her absence and she has got no objection with the result of the M.E.Lab and the same shall be acceptable to her. Thus, the main controversy between the parties is with regard to consent letter Ex.R4. The complainant has alleged that it is a forged and fabricated document whereas the OPs-Board has alleged that it has been executed by the complainant herself. To support her allegation, the complainant has produced the copy of her passport Ex.A11 which shows that she remained out of India w.e.f. 28.5.2008 to 27.7.2008 whereas ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has alleged that in the passport Ex.A11, the name of passport holder has been mentioned as Nishi Kaval and not Premjit Kaur. On this point, ld.counsel for the complainant has argued that the complainant has two names i.e. Nishi Kaval and Premjit Kaur, but no pleading has been taken to this effect in the complaint. If the complainant alleges forgery and fabrication on the part of the OPs-Board regarding the consent letter Ex.R4, then this Forum has got no jurisdiction to try and decide the present complaint and the same is not maintainable since complicated question of law and facts are involved which requires elaborate evidence both oral and documentary. Then it is only the civil court of competent jurisdiction who can try and decide the present complaint and the same can not be decided by this Forum in summary manner. On this point, the rulings III(2002) CPJ 41 (NC) titled as Aryan Agro Spice (P) Ltd. Vs.Saraswat Co-Op.Bank Ltd. & Anr. , III(2002) CPJ 59 (NC) titled as Ferrygold ((India)Ltd. Vs. National Insurance Co.Ltd. & Ors., III(2002) CPJ 272 (NC) titled as Mahakosh Holding Pvt.Ltd. Vs. Oriental Insurance Co.Ltd., III(2001) CPJ 189 titled as V.KI.Balan Vs. Trisiba Electronics and I(2001) CPJ 123 titled as Syndicate Bank & Anr. Vs. Supreme Medical Agencies are quite helpful to the facts of the present case.



    9. Moreover, if any forgery and fabrication as alleged had been committed by the OPs-Board, the complainant should have got registered FIR or filed the criminal complaint against them in the court of JMIC. But it is not possible for the Consumer Fora to try and decide the case in its summary jurisdiction because the complicated questions of law and facts are involved and both the parties have to led the voluminous evidence in support of their contentions. This is an appropriate case for the civil court to decide and the proper remedy for the parties is to approach the civil court/ proper Forum, It is not disputed that the Consumers Forums have been set up to grant speedy remedy through summary trial, but the case in hand requires elaborate and voluminous evidence to be led by both the parties. The Forums are not meant to duplicate the civil courts, and subject the litigants to delays which have become endemic in the civil courts as held by Hon’ble Apex Court in 2006(2) CPC page 664 titled as Trai Foods Ltd. Vs. National Insurance Co.Ltd. So this Forum is not the appropriate and the parties shall relegate their case before the civil court.


    10. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint stands dismissed. However, the parties are at liberty to approach the civil court/ appropriate Forum for the redressal of their grievance. Keeping in view the peculiar circumstances of the case, the parties are left to bear their own costs. Copy of the order be given to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.

    (Jit Singh Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member President

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 11 of 2009
    Instituted On: 08.01.2009
    Date of Service: 28.01.2009
    Decided On: 26.03.2009
    Binder Pal Singh (aged 45 years) son of Mukhtiar Singh resident of Patti Gill, Chuhar Chakk, District Moga.
    …..Complainant.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board through its Secretary, PSEB, Patiala.
    2. Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Suburban Division Moga, Moga.
    3. Sub Divisional Officer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Ajitwal, District Moga.
    ……Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Sh.J.S.Mallah, Member.

    Present: Sh.Gurdeep Singh Gill,Adv.counsel for the complainant.
    Sh.Satvir Singh, Adv. counsel for the OPs-Board.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)

    Sh.Binder Pal Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Secretary, Patiala (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’) and others-opposite parties directing them to quash the illegal demand of Rs.47000/- raised vide bill dated 01.12.2008 and also to pay Rs.10000/- as compensation on account of mental tension and harassment or any other relief to which this Forum may deem fit be granted.


    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Binder Pal Singh complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having domestic electric connection bearing account no.F15AL24/0439W installed at his residential premises with sanctioned load of 2.45 KW. That the complainant has been paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against him. That previously the complainant received a notice from the OPs-Board vide which they demanded Rs.6970/- which he deposited. That now again, he received a bill dated 1.12.2008 vide which the OPs-Board raised a demand of Rs.47000/- on account of ‘theft of energy’. That the complainant never committed ‘theft of energy’. Moreover, no checking of his premises was ever conducted by the OPs-Board. That the complainant visited the office of the OPs-Board and requested to withdraw the impugned amount, but to no effect. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board has caused great inconvenience, harassment and mental agony to him for which he has claimed Rs.10000/- as compensation beside costs of the litigation. Hence the present complaint.




    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.Satvir Singh, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable in the present form; that the complainant is estopped by his act and conduct to file the present complaint and that the complainant has concealed the true facts from the knowledge of this Forum. In fact, on 28.01.2008 Sh.Ram Singh AAE and Jagdev Singh JE, PSEB, Moga jointly checked the electric connection in question in the presence of the complainant and found him stealing the electricity by inserting direct kundi in joint made in the PVC line coming to the meter. The checking was made in the presence of the complainant, but he refused to sign the checking report. That the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. Thereafter, notice dated 28.01.2008 of provisional order of assessment for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ was served upon the complainant to deposit Rs.6783/- under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 and the impugned demand raised by them was deposited by the complainant. That the said amount has been calculated taking the load factor as 30%. Thereafter, clarification of Chief Engineer, PSEB Patiala was received vide which in ‘theft cases’ the amount to be calculated was by taking 100% load factor. Accordingly, the audit party vide its half margin no.119 of 5/08 detected this mistake and raised further demand of Rs.46623/- on account of difference of amount of ‘theft of electricity’ vide notice no. 2725 dated 24.01.2008, but the complainant did not deposit the same. Hence, the impugned amount has been added in the consumption bill of the complainant dated 01.12.2008 to which the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover. On merits, the OPs-Board took up the same and similar plea as taken up by them in preliminary objections. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.



    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of receipt Ex.A2, copies of bills Ex.A3 and Ex.A4 and closed his evidence.


    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.D.S.Toor, Add.S.E., copy of memo Ex.R2, copy of notice Ex.R3, copy of half margin Ex.R4, copy of checking report Ex.R5 and closed their evidence.



    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.G.S.Gill ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.Satvir Singh ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.


    7. Sh.G.S.Gill ld.counsel for the complainant has mainly argued that the impugned demand of Rs.47000/- raised vide bill dated 01.12.2008 by the OPs-Board is wrong and illegal because the complainant had already paid Rs.6970/- on 15.04.2008 on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. This contention of the ld.counsel for the complainant has full force. Admittedly, the OPs-Board found the complainant using the unauthorized electricity and vide notice no.226 dated 28.01.2008 he was directed to pay Rs.6783/- which he deposited on 15.04.2008.


    8. Now it is contended by ld.counsel for the OPs-Board that they have charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor whereas he was to be charged by taking 100% load factor. This contention of the ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has no merit. Circular 53/2006 of the OPs-Board shows that in cases of theft/ unauthorized use of electricity, a domestic consumer can be charged by taking 30% load factor. The case of the complainant who is a domestic consumer does not fall under direct theft mentioned in category ‘e’ of rule (1) of said circular. Thus, the OPs-Board has wrongly issued the fresh notice to him directing to pay the difference of the amount on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 100% load factor instead of 30% already charged.


    9. Moreover, the OPs-Board is estopped by their act and conduct to raise the impugned demand when they have already charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor. Hence, the OPs-Board has wrongly and illegally issued the impugned notice to the complainant to pay the difference of charges on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. Thus, there is deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board in demanding the impugned amount and we quash and set aside the same.



    10. To prove the aforesaid contention, the complainant produced his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of receipt Ex.A2, copies of bills Ex.A3 and Ex.A4 and we believe and rely upon the same. On the other hand, no reliance could be placed on affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.D.S.Toor, Add.S.E. and documents Ex.R2 to Ex.R5 and we discard the same.




    11. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.



    12. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint filed by the complainant has merit and the same is accepted. Hence, the impugned demand of Rs.47000/- raised by the OPs-Board vide bill dated 01.12.2008 is set aside and quashed. However, the OPs-Board shall refund/adjust the amount (as per the desire of the complainant), if any, deposited by the complainant as per interim order of this Forum dated 12.01.2009 alongwith interest @ 9% per annum from the date of deposit till its realisation. Keeping in view the peculiar circumstances of the case, the parties are left to bear their own costs. Copies of the order be sent to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.

    (Jit Singh Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member President

    Announced in Open Forum.
    Dated:26.03.2009.

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 26 of 2009
    Instituted On: 06.02.2009
    Date of Service: 26.02.2009
    Decided On: 31.03.2009
    Sukhdev Singh (aged 50 years) son of Sh.Kartar Singh, resident of village: Umriana District Moga.

    Complainant.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board through its Secretary, The Mall, Patiala.
    2. Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Moga.
    3. Sub Divisional Officer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Kot Ise Khan, District Moga.
    Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Sh.Jit Singh Mallah, Member.

    Present: Sh.Gurwinder Singh, Adv.counsel for complainant.
    Sh.R.K.Goyal, Adv. counsel for OPs.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)
    Sh.Sukhdev Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Secretary and others-opposite parties (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’) directing them to quash the illegal demand of Rs.34272/- raised vide bill dated 18.01.2009 and also to pay Rs.10000/- as compensation for causing mental tension and harassment or any other relief to which this Forum may deem fit be granted.


    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Sukhdev Singh complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having domestic electric connection bearing account no.F23UM241514L installed at his residential premises with sanctioned load of 1.44 KW. That he had been paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against him. That the complainant received a bill dated 18.1.2009 from the OPs-Board vide which they raised a demand of Rs.34272/- without assigning any reason. That no notice was ever issued to him by the OPs-Board before adding the impugned amount in his consumption bill. Moreover, he never used the electricity to that extent. That no checking was ever conducted of his premises by the OPs-Board. That the complainant approached the office of OPs-Board and requested to withdraw the impugned demand, but to no effect. That the impugned demand is altogether wrong and illegal and in gross violation of prescribed rules and regulations of the OPs-Board. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board had caused great inconvenience, harassment and mental tension to him for which he had claimed Rs.10000/- as compensation. Hence the present complaint.



    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.R.K.Goyal, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable in the present form; that the complainant is estopped by his act and conduct from filing the present complaint; that the complainant has concealed the material facts from the knowledge of this Forum and that the complainant is not a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board, so the present complaint does not lie. On merits, it was averred that in fact on 30.08.2008 Sh.Gurjant Singh, JE-I alongwith other officials of the Ops-Board checked the electric connection in question and found the complainant using the electricity by illegal means i.e. by direct supply by bye-passing the meter and the meter was not running. That the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. That the checking was conducted in the presence of the complainant, but he refused to sign the checking report. Thereafter, notice no.2562 dated 11.09.2008 was issued to the complainant raising a demand of Rs.30639/- on account of ‘theft of energy’ under Electricity Act, 2003 to which the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.



    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, bill Ex.A2, receipt Ex.A3 and closed his evidence.


    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Jaspreet Singh XEN, affidavit Ex.R2 of Gurjant Singh, JE, copy of checking report Ex.R3, copy of notice Ex.R4 and closed their evidence.


    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.Gurwinder Singh ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.R.K.Goyal ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.


    7. Sh.Gurwinder Singh ld.counsel for the complainant has mainly argued that the impugned demand of Rs.32272/- raised vide bill dated 18.01.2009 by the OPs-Board is wrong and illegal. This contention of the ld.counsel for the complainant has no merit. Admittedly, on 30.08.2008 Sh.Gurjant Singh, JE-I alongwith other officials of the Ops-Board checked the electric connection in question and found the complainant using the electricity by illegal means i.e. by direct supply by bye-passing the meter and the meter was not running. The checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. The checking was conducted in the presence of the complainant, but he refused to sign the checking report. Thereafter, notice no.2562 dated 11.09.2008 was issued to the complainant raising a demand of Rs.30639/- on account of ‘theft of energy’ under Electricity Act, 2003. To further strengthen the aforesaid allegations against the complainant, the OPs-Board has produced the affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Jaspreet Singh XEN, affidavit Ex.R2 of Gurjant Singh, JE, copy of checking report Ex.R3, copy of notice Ex.R4.


    8. Moreover, the complainant has failed to lead any cogent and convincing evidence to prove that he was not committing ‘theft of electricity’ except his bare affidavit Ex.A1. There is no corroboration to his affidavit that he was not stealing the electricity by illegal means. Moreover, he has reason to give false affidavit in order to save himself from the consequences of being caught red handed while stealing the electricity by illegal means. Thus, no reliance could be placed on his affidavit Ex.A1 and we discard the same. Hence, we hold that the complainant was found committing ‘theft of energy’.



    9. Now the question for determination is whether the complainant can be made liable to pay Rs.34272/- on account of ‘theft of energy’ as per the Electricity Act, 2003. The answer to this question is partly in negative. The OPs-Board has not strictly complied with the provisions of new Electricity Act, 2003. Admittedly, the electric connection installed at the premises of the complainant is domestic. Under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 in case of ‘theft of energy’, the domestic consumer at the most can be charged by taking the demand factor of 30%. Copy of checking report Ex.R3 issued by the OPs-Board as well as written reply and affidavit Ex.R1 show that they have charged the impugned amount by taking the demand factor as 100% instead of 30%. Thus, we hold that the impugned demand of Rs.34272/- raised vide bill dated 18.01.2009 from the complainant is liable to be set aside and quashed. However, the OPs-Board can charge the complainant for ‘theft of energy’ by taking the demand factor as 30% under the said Act.



    10. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.


    11. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint filed by the complainant is partly accepted and the demand of Rs.34272/- raised by the OPs-Board vide bill dated 18.01.2009 from the complainant is set aside and quashed. However, the OPs-Board is entitled to charge the complainant on account of ‘theft of energy’ by taking the demand factor as 30%. Since the complainant has already deposited Rs.17655/- vide receipt no.31 dated 18.02.2009 i.e. 50% of the disputed amount with the OPs-Board vide interim order dated 10.02.2009 of this Forum, they are directed to adjust the same by taking calculation of demand factor as 30%/ refund the excess amount, if any, to the complainant within 15 days alongwith interest @ 9% per annum from the date of deposit till its realisation. In view of the peculiar circumstances of the case, the parties are left to bear their own costs. Copies of the order be sent to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.


    (Jit Singh Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member President
    Announced in Open Forum.
    Dated:31.03.2009.

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 17 of 2009
    Instituted On: 16.01.2009
    Date of Service: 30.01.2009
    Decided On: 31.03.2009
    Satnam Singh (aged 28 years) son of Atma Singh, resident of village: Duneke, Distt.Moga.

    …..Complainant.
    Versus
    1. XEN, Punjab State Electricity Board, North, Moga.
    2. SDO, Punjab State Electricity Board, North, Moga.

    ……Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Sh.J.S.Mallah, Member.

    Present: Sh.Satnam Singh, complainant in person.
    Sh.R.K.Goyal, Adv. counsel for the OPs.


    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)
    Sh.Satnam Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its XEN, PSEB, North Sub Division, Moga and another (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’)-opposite parties directing them to quash the illegal demand of Rs.4553/- raised vide bill dated 29.09.2008 as sundry charges.


    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Satnam Singh complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having domestic electric connection bearing account no.F54/DK6405151H installed at his residential premises with sanctioned load of 0.40 KW. That he belongs to scheduled caste category. That the complainant has been paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against him. That previously the complainant received a notice from the OPs-Board vide which they raised a demand which he deposited on different dates. That now again, he received a bill dated 29.09.2008 vide which the OPs-Board raised a demand of Rs.4553/- without assigning any reason. That the complainant visited the office of the OPs-Board and requested to withdraw the impugned amount, but to no effect. Hence the present complaint.


    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.R.KGoyal, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable in the present form; that the complainant is estopped by his act and conduct from filing the present complaint and that the complainant has concealed the material facts from the knowledge of this Forum. On merits, it was averred that in fact, on 18.04.2007 Sh.Jagtar Singh AEE and Sukhdev Singh gill, JE Sub Urban Division, Moga jointly checked the electric connection in question and found the complainant stealing the electricity by illegal means i.e. by way of direct kundi and taping the joint and the main switch was off. The meter was not recording any consumption. The checking was conducted in the presence of lady members in the house of the complainant, but they refused to sign the checking report. That the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. Thereafter, notice no.925 dated 21.05.2007 of provisional order of assessment for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ was served upon the complainant to deposit Rs.5224/- under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 and the impugned demand raised by them was deposited by the complainant. That the said amount has been calculated taking the load factor as 30%. Thereafter, clarification of Chief Engineer, PSEB Patiala was received vide which in ‘theft cases’ the amount to be calculated was by taking 100% load factor. Accordingly, the audit party vide its half margin no.1379 of 5/08 detected this mistake and raised further demand of Rs.4553/- on account of difference of amount of ‘theft of electricity’ vide notice no.2111 dated 18.9.2008, but the complainant did not deposit the same. Hence, the impugned amount has been added in the consumption bill of the complainant dated 29.09.2008 to which the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.


    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of caste certificate Ex.A2, copies of receipts Ex.A3 to Ex.A5, copy of bill Ex.A6 and closed his evidence.


    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.D.S.Toor, XEN, affidavit Ex.R2 of Jagtar Singh AAE, copy of checking report Ex.R3, copy of notice Ex.R4, copy of half margin Ex.R5, copy of detail Ex.R6 and closed their evidence.
    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.Satnam Singh complainant and Sh.R.K.Goyal ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.


    7. Sh.Satnam Singh complainant has mainly argued that the impugned demand of Rs.4553/- raised vide bill dated 29.9.2008 by the OPs-Board is wrong and illegal because the complainant had already paid Rs.5224/- on different dates on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. This contention of the complainant has full force. Admittedly, the OPs-Board found the complainant using the unauthorized electricity and vide notice no.925 dated 21.05.2007 he was directed to pay Rs.5224/- which he deposited on different dates.


    8. Now it is contended by ld.counsel for the OPs-Board that they have charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor whereas he was to be charged by taking 100% load factor. This contention of the ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has no merit. Circular 53/2006 of the OPs-Board shows that in cases of theft/ unauthorized use of electricity, a domestic consumer can be charged by taking 30% load factor. The case of the complainant who is a domestic consumer does not fall under direct theft mentioned in category ‘e’ of rule (1) of said circular. Thus, the OPs-Board has wrongly issued the fresh notice to him directing to pay the difference of the amount on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 100% load factor instead of 30% already charged.


    9. Moreover, the OPs-Board is estopped by their act and conduct to raise the impugned demand when they have already charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor. Hence, the OPs-Board has wrongly and illegally issued the impugned notice to the complainant to pay the difference of charges on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. Thus, there is deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board in demanding the impugned amount and we quash and set aside the same.



    10. To prove the aforesaid contention, the complainant produced his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of caste certificate Ex.A2, copies of receipts Ex.A3 to Ex.A5, copy of bill Ex.A6 and we believe and rely upon the same. On the other hand, no reliance could be placed on affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.D.S.Toor, XEN, affidavit Ex.R2 of Jagtar Singh AAE and documents Ex.R3 to Ex.R6 and we discard the same.


    11. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.




    12. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint filed by the complainant has merit and the same is accepted. Hence, the impugned demand of Rs.4553/- raised by the OPs-Board vide bill dated 29.09.2008 is set aside and quashed. Keeping in view the peculiar circumstances of the case, the parties are left to bear their own costs. Copies of the order be sent to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.

    (Jit Singh Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member President

    Announced in Open Forum.
    Dated:31.03.2009.

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 02 of 2009
    Instituted On: 01.01.2009
    Date of Service: 21.01.2009
    Decided On: 31.03.2009
    Sukhmander Singh (aged 52 years) son of Sh.Balwant Singh, resident of Kokari Phula Singh, Tehsil Moga.
    Complainant.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board, through Secretary, The Mall, Patiala.
    2. Senior Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Moga.
    3. Sub Divisional Officer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Ajitwal, District Moga.
    Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Sh.Jit Singh Mallah, Member.

    Present: Sh.Amiteshwar, Adv.counsel for the complainant.
    Sh.Shivcharan Singh Gill, Adv. counsel for OPs.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)
    Sh.Sukhmander Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Secretary and others (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’)-opposite parties directing them to quash the illegal demand of Rs.7270/- raised vide bill dated 15.12.2008 and to pay Rs.20000/- as compensation for causing mental tension and harassment or any other relief to which this Forum may deem fit be granted.



    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Sukhmander Singh complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having domestic electric connection bearing account no.F51KF370482K installed at his residential premises with sanctioned load of 1.98 KW. That he had been paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against him. That previously the OPs-Board raised a demand of Rs.2493/- on 15.10.2007 which he deposited. Thereafter, the complainant received a bill dated 15.12.2008 from the Ops-Board vide which they raised a demand of Rs.7270/- on account of ‘theft of energy’. That the said bill is altogether illegal, unjust, void at law and is liable to be quashed. That the complainant never used the electricity by illegal means. That the impugned demand has been raised by the OPs-Board arbitrarily by sitting in the office. That the complainant approached the office of OPs-Board time and again and requested to withdraw the impugned demand, but to no effect. That the impugned demand is altogether wrong and illegal and in gross violation of prescribed rules and regulations of the OPs-Board. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board had caused great inconvenience, harassment and mental agony to him for which he has claimed Rs.20000/- as compensation beside costs of the litigation. Hence the present complaint.


    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.Shivcharan Singh Gill, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable in the present form; that there is no deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board; that the complainant has concealed the true facts from the knowledge of this Forum. In fact, on 15.10.2007 officials of OPs-Board checked the electric connection in question and found the complainant stealing the electricity by illegal means i.e. by connecting the direct wire from the roof. The meter was not recording the consumption at the spot and electricity was running. The checking was conducted in the presence of the complainant, who signed the checking report. Thus, the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. Thereafter, notice no.2733 dated 15.10.2007 of provisional order of assessment for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ was served upon the complainant to deposit Rs.2493/- under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 and the impugned demand raised by them was deposited by the complainant. That the said amount has been calculated taking the load factor as 30%. Thereafter, clarification of Chief Engineer, PSEB, Patiala was received vide which in ‘theft cases’ the amount to be calculated was by taking 100% load factor. Accordingly, the audit party vide its half margin no.1 of 9/08 detected this mistake and raised further demand of Rs.7270/- on account of difference of amount of ‘theft of electricity’ vide notice, but the complainant did not deposit the same. Hence, the impugned amount has been added in the consumption bill of the complainant dated 15.12.2008 to which the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover. On merits, the OPs-Board took up the same and similar pleas as taken up by them in the preliminary objections. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.



    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of bill Ex.A2, copy of notice Ex.A3, copy of receipt Ex.A4 and closed his evidence.


    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Gurcharan Singh AEE, copy of half margin Ex.R2, copy of checking report Ex.R3 and closed their evidence.


    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.Amiteshwar ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.Shivcharan Singh Gill ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.



    7. Sh.Amiteshwar ld. counsel for the complainant has mainly argued that the impugned demand of Rs.7270/- raised vide bill dated 15.12.2008 by the OPs-Board is wrong and illegal because the complainant had already paid Rs.2493/- on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. This contention of the ld.counsel for the complainant has full force. Admittedly, the OPs-Board found the complainant using the unauthorized electricity and vide notice no.2733 dated 15.10.2007 he was directed to pay Rs.2493/- which he deposited.


    8. Now it is contended by ld.counsel for the OPs-Board that they have charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor whereas he was to be charged by taking 100% load factor. This contention of the ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has no merit. Circular 53/2006 of the OPs-Board shows that in cases of theft/ unauthorized use of electricity, a domestic consumer can be charged by taking 30% load factor. The case of the complainant who is a domestic consumer does not fall under direct theft mentioned in category ‘e’ of rule (1) of said circular. Thus, the OPs-Board has wrongly issued the fresh notice to him directing to pay the difference of the amount on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 100% load factor instead of 30% already charged.


    9. Moreover, the OPs-Board is estopped by their act and conduct to raise the impugned demand when they have already charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor. Hence, the OPs-Board has wrongly and illegally issued the impugned notice to the complainant to pay the difference of charges on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. Thus, there is deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board in demanding the impugned amount and we quash and set aside the same.


    10. The complainant has produced the receipt Ex.A4 vide which he has deposited Rs.3600/- i.e. 50% of the disputed amount as per interim order of this Forum dated 02.01.2009. Thus, he is entitled to its refund alongwith interest @ 9% per annum from the date of deposit till its realization.


    11. To prove the aforesaid contention, the complainant produced his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of bill Ex.A2, copy of notice Ex.A3, copy of receipt Ex.A4 and we believe and rely upon the same. On the other hand, no reliance could be placed on the affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Gurcharan Singh AEE and documents Ex.R2 to Ex.R3 and we discard the same.


    12. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.



    13. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint filed by the complainant has merit and the same is accepted. Hence, the impugned demand of Rs.7270/- raised by the OPs-Board vide bill dated 15.12.2008 is set aside and quashed. Since the complainant has already deposited Rs.3600/- vide receipt no.38 dated 1.1.2009 with the OPs-Board vide interim order dated 1.1.2009 of this Forum, they are directed to refund the same alongwith interest @ 9% per annum from the date of deposit till its realization. Keeping in view the peculiar circumstances of the case, the parties are left to bear their own costs. Copies of the order be sent to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.

    (Jit Singh Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member President

    Announced in Open Forum.
    Dated:31.03.2009.

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 12 of 2009
    Instituted On: 08.01.2009
    Date of Service: 29.01.2009
    Decided On: 31.03.2009
    Tej Singh (aged 48 years) son of Sh.Wasakha Singh, resident of Gali No.6, Road No.4, House No.18/639, Sardar Nagar, Moga.

    Complainant.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board through its XEN, Suburban, Sub Division, Moga.
    2. Punjab State Electricity Board, through its SDO, Suburban Division, Moga.

    Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Sh.Jit Singh Mallah, Member.

    Present: Sh.S.K.Jaiswal, Adv.counsel for complainant.
    Sh.S.K.Dhir, Adv. counsel for OPs.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)
    Sh.Tej Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its XEN, Sub Urban, Sub Division, Moga and another (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’)-opposite parties directing them to withdraw the illegal and unlawful demand of Rs.24130/- raised vide memo no.2754 dated 17.11.2008 and also to pay Rs.20000/- as compensation for causing mental tension and harassment beside Rs.5500/- as costs of litigation or any other relief to which this Forum may deem fit be granted.
    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Tej Singh complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having domestic electric connection bearing account no.SN01/0355 installed at his residential premises with sanctioned load of 1.30 KW. That he had been paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against him. That in the month of October, 2008 some officials of the OPs-Board visited his house and checked the electric meter ; That after checking the meter, though the officials of the OPs-Board everything OK, but they demanded Rs.5000/- as illegal gratification, to which the complainant refused. That on refusal, the officials of the OPs-Board threatened him that he will have to pay the huge amount. That the complainant received a memo no. 2754 dated 17.11.2008 vide which the OPs-Board raised a demand of Rs.24130/- on account of ‘theft of energy’. That no artificial means was recovered on the spot. Thereafter, in response to the application moved by the complainant under Right to Information Act, the OPs-Board informed him that the impugned demand has been calculated as per the commercial circular No.53/2006. That the impugned demand is altogether wrong and illegal and in gross violation of prescribed rules and regulations of the OPs-Board. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board had caused great inconvenience, harassment and mental agony to him for which he had claimed Rs.20000/- as compensation beside costs of the litigation. Hence the present complaint.
    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.S.K.Dhir, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable in the present form; that there is no deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board and that the complainant has concealed material facts from the knowledge of this Forum. In fact, on 08.10.2008 Sh.Mohinder Singh, AEE PSEB Sub Urban Sub Division, Moga checked the electric connection in question and found the complainant stealing the electricity by illegal means i.e. by fixing the artificial circuit. That the meter was stopped. That the electricity was running and meter was not recording the consumption on the spot. The checking was made in the presence of the complainant who duly signed the same. That the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. Thereafter, memo no.2754 dated 17.11.2008 of provisional order of assessment for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ was served upon the complainant to deposit Rs.24130/- under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 to which the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover. On merits, the OPs-Board took up the same and similar plea as taken up by them in preliminary objections. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.
    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of memo Ex.A2, copy of bill Ex.A3 and closed his evidence.
    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Jaspreet Singh Sr.XEN, affidavit Ex.R2 of Sh.Mohinder Singh AEE, copy of checking report Ex.R3, copy of notice Ex.R4 and closed their evidence.
    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.S.K.Jaiswal ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.S.K.Dhir ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.
    7. Sh.S.K.Jaiswal, ld.counsel for the complainant has mainly argued that the impugned demand of Rs.24130/- raised vide memo no.2754 dated 17.11.2008 by the OPs-Board is wrong and illegal. This contention of the ld.counsel for the complainant has no merit. Admittedly, on 08.10.2008 Sh.Mohinder Singh, AEE PSEB Sub Urban Sub Division, Moga checked the electric connection in question and found the complainant stealing the electricity by illegal means i.e. by fixing the artificial circuit. The meter was stopped. The electricity was running and meter was not recording the consumption on the spot. The checking was made in the presence of the complainant who duly signed the same. That the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. Thereafter, memo no.2754 dated 17.11.2008 of provisional order of assessment for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ was served upon the complainant to deposit Rs.24130/- under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003. To further strengthen the aforesaid allegations against the complainant, the OPs-Board has produced affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Jaspreet Singh, Sr.XEN, affidavit Ex.R2 of Sh.Mohinder Singh AEE, copy of checking report Ex.R3, copy of notice Ex.R4.
    8. Moreover, the complainant has failed to lead any cogent and convincing evidence to prove that he was not committing ‘theft of electricity’ except his bare affidavit Ex.A1. There is no corroboration to his affidavit that he was not stealing the electricity by illegal means. Moreover, he has reason to give false affidavit in order to save himself from the consequences of being caught red handed while stealing the electricity by illegal means. Thus, no reliance could be placed on his affidavit Ex.A1 and we discard the same. Hence, we hold that the complainant was found committing ‘theft of energy’.
    9. Now the question for determination is whether the complainant can be made liable to pay Rs.24130/- on account of ‘theft of energy’ as per the Electricity Act, 2003. The answer to this question is partly in negative. The OPs-Board has not strictly complied with the provisions of new Electricity Act, 2003. Admittedly, the electric connection installed at the premises of the complainant is domestic. Under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 in case of ‘theft of energy’, the domestic consumer at the most can be charged by taking the demand factor of 30%. Copy of checking report Ex.R3 issued by the OPs-Board as well as written reply and affidavit Ex.R1 show that they have charged the impugned amount by taking the demand factor as 100% instead of 30%. Thus, we hold that the impugned demand of Rs.24130/- raised vide memo dated 17.11.2008 from the complainant is liable to be set aside and quashed. However, the OPs-Board can charge the complainant for ‘theft of energy’ by taking the demand factor as 30% under the said Act.
    10. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.
    11. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint filed by the complainant is partly accepted and the demand of Rs.24130/- raised by the OPs-Board vide memo dated 17.11.2008 from the complainant is set aside and quashed. However, the OPs-Board is entitled to issue fresh notice/ demand on account of ‘theft of energy’ taking the demand factor as 30% and the complainant shall deposit the same within 15 days from the date of receipt of the notice. In case, the complainant has deposited any amount with the OPs-Board in compliance with the interim order dated 12.01.2009 of this Forum, they shall refund/ adjust the excess amount, alongwith interest @ 9% per annum from the date of deposit till its realization. In view of the peculiar circumstances of the case, the parties are left to bear their own costs. Copies of the order be sent to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.

    (Jit Singh Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member President

    Announced in Open Forum.
    Dated:31.03.2009.

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    DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, LUDHIANA.

    Complaint no.509 of 7.8.2008. Date of Order 3.3.2009.

    Rajni Rani wife of late S. Amrik Singh H.No.68, Police Colony, Jamalpur, Ludhiana.
    ….Complainant.
    Versus

    1- The Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Focal Point, Ludhiana.
    2- AEE/Commercial, Focal Point Divn. (Spl.) PSEB, Ludhiana.

    ….Opposite parties.

    COMPLAINT UNDER SECTION 12 OF THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 1986.
    Quorum:
    Sh. T.N. Vaidya, President.
    Sh. Rajesh Kumar, Member.

    Present: Sh. Kulwinder Singh son of the complainant.
    Sh. T.P.S. Ahluwalia Adv. for opposite parties.

    O R D E R

    T.N. VAIDYA, PRESIDENT:

    1- By way of present complaint under section 12 of the Consumer Protection, 1986, complainant has challenged provisional assessment order u/s 126 (3) of Electricity Act, 2003, vide which opposite party demanded Rs.1405/- from the complainant, for unauthorized use of electricity qua her electric connection bearing account no.HD03/97. The demand is claimed to be illegal, null and void.
    2- Opposite party has justified the demand on assertions that the complainant at the time of checking, was found committing theft of energy. Hence, theft charges through provisional assessment order, assessed and claimed. Also pleaded that complainant is not a consumer, entitled to file complaint.
    3- Parties adduced evidence in support of their respective claims. We have heard son of complainant, ld. counsel for opposite parties and gone through the record.
    4- Apparent that complainant has challenged preliminary assessment order. In our view, such order can not be challenged in the Consumer Fora, in view of the law laid down by the Hon’ble National Commission in a case reported as JharkhandState Electricity Board & Anr. Vs. Anwar Ali 2008 CTJ-837(CP)(NCDRC, New Delhi). In that case, Hon’ble Supreme Court had directed the National Commission, to deicide whether a person, who has been issued notice u/s 126 of Electricity Act, 2003, is a “consumer”, under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. After discussing the law, Hon’ble National Commission, therein held that a person, who has been issued provisional assessment order u/s 126 of Electricity Act, 2003, is not a “consumer”, for purpose of section 2(i) (d) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986, hence not entitled to file complaint.
    5- In view of above observation, we feel that complainant being not a “consumer” u/s 2(i) (d) of the Consumer Protection Act, is not entitled to file complaint. Hence, on this point, complaint is dismissed. Parties are left to bear own costs. Copy of order be made available to the parties free of charge. File be consigned to record room.
    Announced on 3.3.2009. T.N. Vaidya, President.

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 176 of 2008
    Instituted On: 12.12.2008
    Date of Service: 12.01.2009
    Decided On: 17.03.2009
    Harjit Singh (aged 32 years) son of Kulwant Singh son of Jarnail Singh resident of village: Lande, Tehsil: Bagha Purana, Distt.Moga.
    …..Complainant.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board, through Secretary, The Mall, Patiala.
    2. Executive Engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Bagha Purana.
    3. Sub Divisional Officer, Punjab State Electricity Board, Sub Urban, Sub Division, Bagha Purana.
    ……Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Sh.J.S.Mallah, Member.

    Present: Sh.G.S.Gill,Adv.counsel for the complainant.
    Sh.R.K.Goyal, Adv. counsel for the OPs-Board.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)
    Sh.Harjit Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Secretary, The Mall, Patiala (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’) and others-opposite parties directing them to quash the demand of Rs.43756/- raised vide bill dated 28.11.2008 and also to pay Rs.20000/- as compensation on account of harassment and mental tension or any other relief to which this Forum may deem fit be granted.


    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Harjit Singh complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having domestic electric connection bearing account no.F15AL24/0439W installed at his residential premises with sanctioned load of 2.98 KW in the name of his father Kulwant Singh, who has died on 11.4.2003 and after his death, the complainant has been using the said connection and paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against him. That on 12.4.2008 the complainant received a notice from the OPs-Board vide which they demanded Rs.15290/- by lavelling false allegations of ‘theft of energy’ which he deposited. That now again on 14.11.2008 he received a notice vide which the OPs-Board raised a demand of Rs.43756/- on account of ‘theft of energy’. That the complainant visited the office of the OPs-Board and requested to withdraw the impugned amount, but to no effect. Thereafter, he received a bill dated 28.11.2008 in which the OPs-Board has added the impugned amount of Rs.43756/-. That the complainant never committed ‘theft of energy’. Moreover, no checking of his premises was ever conducted by the OPs-Board. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board has caused great inconvenience, harassment and mental agony to him for which he has claimed Rs.20000/- as compensation beside costs of the litigation. Hence the present complaint.


    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.R.K.Goyal, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable in the present form; that the complainant is estopped by his act and conduct to file the present complaint; that the complainant has concealed the true facts from the knowledge of this Forum and that the complainant is not a ‘consumer’ under the Act. On merits, it was averred that the electric connection in question has been installed in the name of Kulwant Singh son of Jarnail Singh and therefore, the complainant is not a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board. In fact, on 12.04.2008 Sh.Amarjit Singh, SDO Sub Urban Division, Bagha Purana checked the electric connection in question in the presence of the complainant and found him stealing the electricity by inserting direct wire from the roof of his house with change over. The checking was made in the presence of the complainant, but he refused to sign the checking report. That the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. Thereafter, notice dated 12.4.2008 of provisional order of assessment for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ was served upon the complainant to deposit Rs.15290/- under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 and the impugned demand raised by them was deposited by the complainant. That the said amount has been calculated taking the load factor as 30%. Thereafter, clarification of Chief Engineer, PSEB Patiala was received vide which in ‘theft cases’ the amount to be calculated was by taking 100% load factor. Accordingly, the audit party vide its half margin no.17 of 9/08 detected this mistake and raised further demand of Rs.43756/- on account of difference of amount of ‘theft of electricity’ vide notice no. 5086 dated 14.11.2008, but the complainant did not deposit the same. Hence, the impugned amount has been added in the consumption bill of the complainant dated 28.11.2008 to which the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.



    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of notice Ex.A2, copy of bill Ex.A3, copy of death certificate Ex.A4 and closed his evidence.


    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Amarjit Singh AEE, affidavit Ex.R2 of Sh.M.S.Brar XEN, copy of half margin Ex.R3, copy of report Ex.R4, copy of notice Ex.R5 and closed their evidence.


    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.G.S.Gill ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.R.K.Goyal ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.


    7. Sh.R.K.Goyal ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has mainly argued that Harjit Singh complainant is not a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board because the connection in question was issued in the name of Kulwant Singh. This contention of the ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has no force. Admittedly, the electric connection in question was issued in the name of Kulwant Singh father of the complainant who died on 11.4.2003. Copy of his death certificate is Ex.A4. After his death, the connection in question was being used by the complainant being his son who used to pay regularly the consumption charges. This fact has not been controverted by the ld.counsel for the OPs-Board. In view of aforesaid facts and circumstances, we therefore, hold that Harjit Singh complainant being beneficiary is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board. Our this view stands fortified by our own Hon’ble State Commission, Pb. Chandigarh in Appeal No.218 of 2004 (Ashwani Kumar Vs. PunjabState Electricity Board and Ors.) decided on 16.8.2005. The relevant portion is reproduced as under:-
    “Suffice it to say that in case of Ashwani Kumar he is the owner in possession of the premises though the connection is in the name of Kartar Devi and is actually the consumer of the electricity and therefore, a ‘consumer’’



    8. Sh.G.S.Gill ld.counsel for the complainant has mainly argued that the impugned demand of Rs.43756/- raised vide bill dated 28.11.2008 by the OPs-Board is wrong and illegal because the complainant had already paid Rs.15290/- on 12.4.2008 on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. This contention of the ld.counsel for the complainant has full force. Admittedly, the OPs-Board found the complainant using the unauthorized electricity and vide notice dated 12.4.2008 he was directed to pay Rs.15290/- which he deposited on 12.4.2008.


    9. Now it is contended by ld.counsel for the OPs-Board that they have charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor whereas he was to be charged by taking 100% load factor. This contention of the ld.counsel for the OPs-Board has no merit. Circular 53/2006 of the OPs-Board shows that in cases of theft/ unauthorized use of electricity, a domestic consumer can be charged by taking 30% load factor. The case of the complainant who is a domestic consumer does not fall under direct theft mentioned in category ‘e’ of rule (1) of said circular. Thus, the OPs-Board has wrongly issued the fresh notice to him directing to pay the difference of the amount on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 100% load factor instead of 30% already charged.



    . Moreover, the OPs-Board is estopped by their act and conduct to raise the impugned demand when they have already charged the complainant for ‘unauthorized use of electricity’ by taking 30% load factor. Hence, the OPs-Board has wrongly and illegally issued the impugned notice to the complainant to pay the difference of charges on account of ‘unauthorized use of electricity’. Thus, there is deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board in demanding the impugned amount and we quash and set aside the same.



    11. To prove the aforesaid contention, the complainant produced his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of notice Ex.A2, copy of bill Ex.A3, copy of death certificate Ex.A4 and we believe and rely upon the same. On the other hand, no reliance could be placed on affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.Amarjit Singh AEE, affidavit Ex.R2 of Sh.M.S.Brar XEN and documents Ex.R3 to Ex.R5 and we discard the same.



    12. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.


    13. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint filed by the complainant has merit and the same is accepted. Hence, the impugned demand of Rs.43756/- raised by the OPs-Board vide bill dated 28.11.2008 is set aside and quashed. However, the OPs-Board shall refund/adjust the amount (as per the desire of the complainant), if any, deposited by the complainant as per interim order of this Forum dated 15.12.2008 alongwith interest @ 9% per annum from the date of deposit till its realisation. Keeping in view the peculiar circumstances of the case, the parties are left to bear their own costs. Copies of the order be sent to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.

    (Jit Singh Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member President

    Announced in Open Forum.

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    BEFORE THE DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, MOGA.
    Complaint No: 143 of 2008
    Instituted On: 10.10.2008
    Date of Service: 14.11.2008
    Decided On:19.03.2009
    Jaswant Singh (aged 42 years) son of Sh.Bhogh Singh, resident of village: Dhalle Ke, Tehsil & Distt.Moga.

    Complainant.
    Versus
    1. Punjab State Electricity Board through its Chairman, The Mall, Patiala.
    2. Asstt. Executive Engineer, Northern Sub Division, Punjab State Electricity Board, Moga.

    Opposite Parties.
    Complaint under section 12 of The
    Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
    Quorum: Sh.J.S.Chawla, President.
    Sh.Jit Singh Mallah, Member.

    Present: Sh.G.S.Brar, Adv.counsel for complainant.
    Sh.Satvir Singh, Adv. counsel for OPs.

    (J.S.CHAWLA, PRESIDENT)
    Sh.Jaswant Singh complainant has filed the present complaint under section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (herein-after referred to as ‘Act’) against Punjab State Electricity Board through its Chairman and another-opposite parties (herein-after referred to as ‘Board’) directing them to withdraw the illegal and unlawful demand of Rs.57048/- raised vide memo no.2230 dated 25.09.2008 and also to pay Rs.20000/- as compensation for causing mental tension and harassment beside Rs.5000/- as costs of litigation.



    2. Briefly stated, Sh.Jaswant Singh complainant is a ‘consumer’ of the OPs-Board having domestic electric connection bearing account no.DH62/0987 installed at his residential premises with sanctioned load of 2.86 KW. That he had been paying the consumption charges regularly and nothing is due against him. That the complainant received a memo no. 2230 dated 25.09.2008 from the OPs-Board vide which they raised a demand of Rs.57048/- on account of ‘theft of energy’. That the complainant never used the electricity by illegal means. That the complainant approached the office of OPs-Board time and again and requested to withdraw the impugned demand, but to no effect. That the impugned demand is altogether wrong and illegal and in gross violation of prescribed rules and regulations of the OPs-Board. That the aforesaid act and conduct of the OPs-Board had caused great inconvenience, harassment and mental agony to him for which he had claimed Rs.20000/- as compensation beside costs of the litigation. Hence the present complaint.



    3. Notice of the complaint was given to the OPs-Board, who appeared through Sh.Satvir Singh, Advocate and filed written reply contesting the same. They took up preliminary objections that the complaint is not maintainable in the present form; that the complainant is estopped by his act and conduct from filing the present complaint and that there is no deficiency in service on the part of the OPs-Board. In fact, on 29.08.2008 Sh.Davinder Singh, JE North Sub Division, Moga checked the electric connection in question and found the complainant using the electric supply by illegal means i.e. by applying direct kundi over the room by bye-passing the meter. The meter was not working on the spot and the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. That the checking was conducted in the presence of representative of the complainant, but he refused to sign the checking report. Thereafter, notice no.2230 dated 25.09.2008 was issued to the complainant raising a demand of Rs.57048/- on account of ‘theft of energy’ under Electricity Act, 2003 to which the OPs-Board is legally entitled to recover. On merits, the OPs-Board took up the same and similar plea as taken up by them in preliminary objections. All other allegations contained in the complaint were specifically denied being wrong and incorrect. Hence, it was prayed that the complaint filed by the complainant has no merit and it deserves dismissal.



    4. In order to prove his case, the complainant tendered in evidence his affidavit Ex.A1, copy of notice Ex.A2 and closed his evidence.


    5. To rebut the evidence of the complainant, the OPs-Board tendered in evidence affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.S.S.Sandhu, Sr.XEN, affidavit Ex.R2 of Davinder Singh, JE, copy of checking report Ex.R3, copy of notice Ex.R4 and closed their evidence.



    6. We have heard the arguments of Sh.G.S.Brar ld. counsel for the complainant and Sh.Satvir Singh ld. counsel for the OPs-Board and have very carefully perused the evidence on the file.



    7. Sh.G.S.Brar ld.counsel for the complainant has mainly argued that the impugned demand of Rs.57048- raised vide memo dated 25.09.2008 by the OPs-Board is wrong and illegal. This contention of the ld.counsel for the complainant has no merit. Admittedly, on 29.08.2008 Sh.Davinder Singh, JE North Sub Division, Moga checked the electric connection in question and found the complainant using the electric supply by illegal means i.e by applying direct kundi over the room by bye-passing the meter. The meter was not working on the spot and the checking authority declared it as a case of ‘theft of energy’. The checking was conducted in the presence of representative of the complainant, but he refused to sign the checking report. They prepared detailed report on the spot and on the basis of the said checking report, notice no.2230 dated 25.09.2008 was issued to the complainant raising a demand of Rs.57048/- on account of ‘theft of energy’ under Electricity Act, 2003. To further strengthen the aforesaid allegations against the complainant, the OPs-Board has produced affidavit Ex.R1 of Sh.S.S.Sandhu, Sr.XEN, affidavit Ex.R2 of Davinder Singh, JE, copy of checking report Ex.R3, copy of notice Ex.R4.



    8. Further, the complainant has failed to lead any cogent and convincing evidence to prove that he was not committing ‘theft of electricity’ except his bare affidavit Ex.A1. There is no corroboration to his affidavit that he was not stealing the electricity by illegal means. Moreover, he has reason to give false affidavit in order to save himself from the consequences of being caught red handed while stealing the electricity by illegal means. Thus, no reliance could be placed on his affidavit Ex.A1 and we discard the same. Hence, we hold that the complainant was found committing ‘theft of energy’.



    9. Now the question for determination is whether the complainant can be made liable to pay Rs.57048/- on account of ‘theft of energy’ as per the Electricity Act, 2003. The answer to this question is partly in negative. The OPs-Board has not strictly complied with the provisions of new Electricity Act, 2003. Admittedly, the electric connection installed at the premises of the complainant is domestic. Under section 126 of Electricity Act, 2003 in case of ‘theft of energy’, the domestic consumer at the most can be charged by taking the demand factor of 30%. Copy of checking report Ex.R3 issued by the OPs-Board as well as written reply and affidavit Ex.R1 show that they have charged the impugned amount by taking the demand factor as 100% instead of 30%. Thus, we hold that the impugned demand of Rs.57048/- raised vide memo dated 25.09.2008 from the complainant is liable to be set aside and quashed. However, the OPs-Board can charge the complainant for ‘theft of energy’ by taking the demand factor as 30% under the said Act.


    10. The ld. counsel for the parties did not urge or argue any other point before us.


    11. In view of the aforesaid facts and circumstances, the complaint filed by the complainant is partly accepted and the demand of Rs.57048/- raised by the OPs-Board vide memo dated 25.09.2008 from the complainant is set aside and quashed. However, the OPs-Board is entitled to issue fresh notice/ demand on account of ‘theft of energy’ taking the demand factor as 30% and the complainant shall deposit the same within 15 days from the date of receipt of the notice. In view of the peculiar circumstances of the case, the parties are left to bear their own costs. Copies of the order be sent to the parties free of cost and thereafter the file be consigned to the record room.


    (Jit Singh Mallah) (J.S.Chawla)
    Member President
    Announced in Open Forum.
    Dated:19.03.2009.

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