Jayshree Yengal, Member:
This appeal challenges the order dtd.03.01.2002 passed by District Consumer Forum Bhandara, partly allowing the consumer complaint bearing No.CC/01/272, whereby directing the opposite party / appellant herein to pay the complainant the maturity amount of Indira Vikas Patra purchased by the complainant after conducting due enquiry and inspection.
Respondent Punjumal to be referred as complainant and the appellants “ Union of India through Secretary, Department of Post and Telegraph and Others to be referred as the O.Ps. for the sake of brevity.
Brief facts giving rise to this appeal are:-
"1. Complainant Punjumal had purchased Indira Vikas Patra of Rs.20,000/- on 10.07.1993 for period of five years. The maturity of the said Indira Vikas Patra was on 10.07.1998 and the maturity amount would be Rs.40,000/-. The complainant was given registration number 954 to 958 for 51-VP/39-B. It is the contention of the complainant that when he approached the o.p. to get the maturity amount of said Indira Vikas Patra he was informed by the o.p. that he could not be given the maturity amount as per Rule 12 (2) of the Post Office Rules in respect of Indira Vikas Patra. The Indira Vikas Patras presented by the complainant, were beyond recognition as they were in highly mutilated condition.
2. Alleging deficiency in service the complainant filed a consumer complaint, seeking the maturity amount of the Indira Vikas Patra with 18% p.a. interest to be imposed from the date of maturity and compensation of Rs.5,000/- and cost of proceedings.
3. The o.ps. resisted the complaint by filing Written Version and denied all the adverse allegations of the complainant. The o.p. specifically submitted that the complainant failed to establish his claim in respect of the purchase of Indira Vikas Patra from Arjuni Morgaon Sub Post Office. The o.p. has further submitted that since there is no procedure prescribed by the Government in respect of maintenance of record about Indira Vikas Patra no specific record is available with the o.ps. However, the o.p. specifically submitted that Indira Vikas Patras scheme was introduced by Government of India in 1986 and Rules were framed in respect of the same. Rule 11 provides that Indira Vikas Patra which has been mutilated / defaced beyond recognition will not be replaced by the Post Office.
4. The Indira Vikas Patras tendered by the complainant, do not fulfill the requirement as per Rule 12(2) for encashment. Since the complainant did not fulfill the conditions in the above mentioned Rules, the o.p. has rightly refused to disburse the maturity amount of the Indira Vikas Patra. Therefore, the o.p. had not rendered any deficiency in service and the complaint deserves to be dismissed being frivolous.
5. The Forum after hearing both the sides and perusal the documents on record, partly allowed the complaint as aforesaid. While allowing the complaint the Forum has specifically held that although the Rule 11 and 12 of the Indira Vikas Patra Rules 1986 the mitigated / defaced IVPs cannot be replaced and such mutilated IVPs which does not reflect the registration number and date of maturity cannot be encashed. The Forum below has held that as per letter dtd.20.10.1986 and 11.11.1986 issued by the D.G. Post issue No.1 mentions maintenance of register in respect of allotment and discharge of IVPs which should mention date of allotment, registration number, serial number of certificate, signature of the Postmaster and Asstt. Postmaster, date of deposit, concerned post office for encashment. Register bearing the signature and counter signatures of the postmaster at the time of allotment and encashment of IVPs. Since the o.ps. submitted that no procedure was prescribed by the Government to maintain any record of IVP, it had no record available with them and therefore, the IVPs given by the complainant cannot be encashed, is undoubtedly contrary to the Rules. Thus holding deficiency in service, the Forum below partly allowed the complaint as above.
6. Feeling aggrieved by the impugned order the o.ps “ Department of Post and Telegraphs has preferred this appeal. The main challenge is that the impugned order is passed contrary to the Rules 11 and 12 of Indira Vikas Patra which cannot sustain in law.
7. We heard counsel for the appellant. The respondent already proceeded exparte. We also perused the copy of the complaint, written version and copy of relevant Rules and the Indira Vikas Patras filed on record.
8. Undisputedly, the Indira Vikas Patras filed on record are mutilated / defaced and Rule 11 puts bar on the Post Office to replace the same and Rule 12 (2) specifically cast duty on the Post Office at the time of encashment of Indira Vikas Patra to examine registration number, date of maturity, etc.
9. We also perused Rule(12)(3) of the said manual which prescribes the procedure to be followed at the time of encashment of Indira Vikas Patras putting the register of issue and discharge before the Postmaster for signature and counter signature, etc.
10. The submission of the o.ps that the Government of India has not prescribed any documentation or procedure to maintain the record of Indira Vikas Patra in the Post Office cannot be acceptable. When any scheme is floated by the Government, necessary Rules are also prescribed. In the present case, also Rules are prescribed in respect of maintenance of register of allotment, discharge, etc. When the complainant presented mutilated / defaced IVPs to the o.p. for the encashment, the o.p. refused the enashment. When the complainant has given the details in respect of registration number, date of purchase, etc. of Indira Vikas Patra the o.p. should have verified their record / registers. By not verifying the same and just submitting that there is no prescribed procedure to maintain the record, definitely results into rendering deficient service. It is also not the case of o.p. that the complainant had never purchased the Indira Vikas Patras. Under such circumstances depriving an individual from receiving the benefit of encashment cannot sustain in law.
11. For the foregoing reasons, we find no glaring illegality, irregularity in the impugned order and the appeal deserves to be dismissed being devoid of merits. In the result we pass the following order:-
i. Appeal is dismissed.
ii. Impugned order dtd.03.01.2002 passed in consumer complaint CC/01/272 is confirmed.
iii. In peculiar facts and circumstances of the case, parties to bear their own cost.
iv. Copy of the order be supplied to the parties free of cost.