B.A. Shaikh, Presiding Member:
1. This appeal is preferred by original opposite party (for short O.P.) Nos.1 and 2 against the order dtd.21.06.2007 passed by District Consumer Forum, Amravti passed in Consumer Complaint bearing No.CC/05/184 by which the complaint has been partly allowed.
2. The case of the complainant as set out in the original complaint in brief, is that he is serving in Telecom Department and residing in residential quarter of that department. The O.P.Nos. 1 and 2 had provided electric connection to his said quarter. However, the O.Ps. issued exorbitant bills for the period from 31.03.2005 to 31.05.2005 for Rs.3,700/-, 31.05.2005 to 31.07.2005 for Rs.9,380/- and for the period from 31.07.2005 to 31.08.2005 for Rs.11,320/-. The residential quarter is comprising of only two rooms and ony complainant, his wife and one son are residing in that quarter. Complainant therefore, made complaints from time to time orally and in writing to the O.Ps. to correct those bills. They were not corrected but electric supply was disconnected on 19.09.2005 all of a sudden. Hence, the complainant filed consumer complaint and prayed that the electric connection be restored and bills be revised the bills as per correct meter reading and direction be given to the O.Ps. to pay him Rs.50,000/- as compensation towards mental harassment and Rs.2,000/- towards cost of complaint.
3. The O.Ps resisted the said complaint by filing common Written Version. They raised preliminary objection that the complainant is not a consumer as the electric connection is provided in the name of Telecom District Engineer of BSNL. It submitted that after receiving the complaint from the complainant, the meter was inspected and the revised bills were issued taking into account the bimonthly consumption of the complainant as 78 units. It is therefore, submitted that the complaint may be dismissed.
4. The Forum below after considering evidence brought on record, came to the conclusion that the revised bills showing bimonthly consumption of 78 units have been issued on the basis of the consumption during the summer season. Whereas, new meter installed by the complainant, shows bimonthly consumption of 35 to 40 units only. The Forum below accepted the bimonthly consumption of 65 units only and then directed the O.Ps to issue revised bills to the complainant during the aforesaid period from 01.03.2005 to 09.09.2005 on the basis of bimonthly consumption of 65 units only and not to apply interest or any other charge over that amount and the complainant shall pay the said revised bills within 15 days. The Forum also observes that if the complainant has paid some bills after filing of the complaint, the said amounts of the bills be adjusted in future bills. The Forum also directed the O.P. to pay to the complainant Rs.200/- towards notice charges and Rs.500 towards cost of complaint.
5. Feeling aggrieved by that order, the O.P. has preferred this appeal. We have heard learned advocate of the appellant. We proceeded exparte against the respondent / original complainant as he failed to appear for final hearing, though duly served with the notice. We have also perused documents placed on record by the appellant.
6. The learned advocate of the appellant submitted that the complainant is not a consumer and therefore complaint filed by him is not maintainable. He further submitted that the revised bills for bimonthly consumption of 78 units, have been rightly issued to the complainant / respondent herein and hence this fact was not properly considered by the Forum below. He relied upon the observations made in following cases
i. Neelam Chhabra Vs. Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitaran Nigam Ltd “ II(2012) “ CPJ “ 65 (NC). In that case the contention was raised by the complainant that as the respondent had acceded to request of complainant for changing the meter, he is deemed to be consumer. The said contention was not accepted and it is held that the complainant is not a consumer as electric connection stood in the name of another person.
ii. SDO Electricity and Anr. Vs. B S Lobana, (2005) 6 Supreme Court Cases “ 280. It is held that dispute was relating to correctness of the electricity meter and hence, it is found in that case that the correct Forum for the said dispute is Electrical Inspector under Section 26(6) of Electricity Act, 1910.
7. It is not disputed that the respondent was serving in Telecom Department of BSNL and therefore he was residing in the quarter, where electricity was supplied by the appellant in the name of Telecom District Engineer. In our view, as the respondent is one of the officials of the said department and he was allotted the quarter by his department, where he was residing, he is a consumer. The electric meter was standing in the name of Superior Officer of the respondent who allotted the quarter to the respondent. Hence, the respondent is the beneficiary of that electric connection. Therefore, he is a consumer as defined under Section 2(1)(d)(ii) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
8. Moreover, it is not disputed that the meter, on the basis of which the bills were issued to the respondent by the appellant, was faulty and therefore, three incorrect bills for the period from 31.03.2005 to 31.08.2005 for Rs.3,700/-, Rs.9,380/- and Rs.11,320/- were issued to the respondent, which were exorbitant. There were only two rooms in the residential quarter of the respondent. Therefore, concerned official of the appellant paid visit to the house of the respondent and on the basis of electrical equipment installed in his quarter, he assessed the bimonthly consumption of 78 units and accordingly, the aforesaid bills were revised and issued on that basis. However, the Forum found that new meter, which was subsequently installed in that house showed bimonthly consumption of 35 to 40 units only. The Forum however, came to the conclusion on the basis of summer season of disputed bills that the bimonthly consumption must be 65 units. Accordingly, direction has been given to revise the bills. We find that the Forum below has rightly given direction to revise the bills on the basis of bimonthly consumption of 65 units.
9. We also find that both aforesaid decisions relied upon by the advocate of the appellant are not applicable to the facts and circumstances of the present case as they are different from those of the aforesaid cases. Thus, since we find no merits in this appeal and it deserves to be dismissed.
i. The appeal is dismissed.
ii. No order as to cost.
iii. Copy of this order be supplied to the parties free of cost.