Gurcharan Singh Saran, Presiding Judicial Member:
1. The appellant/complainant(hereinafter called œthe complainant?) has filed the present appeal against the order dated 20.8.2009 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Amritsar (hereinafter called œthe District Forum?) in consumer complaint No. 322 dated 4.5.2009 vide which the complaint filed by the complainant was dismissed.
2. The complaint was filed by the complainant on the allegations that the complainant is the consumer of the Ops having Account No. A22HG530861 and is regularly making the payment of the bills. It has been further stated that opposite parties issued Bill No. 83224 dated 28.2.2009 for a sum of Rs. 56,140/-. As per his bill average consumption of the complainant from the last 12 months was 116, 123, 515, 473, respectively. OP No. 2 has threatened the complainant through notice/memo No. A22DG140833F that in case the complainant fails to make payment of the abovesaid disputed bill and the complainant filed reply to the said notice through his counsel with a request to recall the said notice and corrected the disputed bill but the opposite parties did not pay any heed towards the said reply of the complainant. When the complainant personally visited the OP to correct the disputed bill, again they did not pay any heed, hence, the complaint to direct the Ops to correct the excessive bill. The Ops be also estopped from disconnect the other connection of A/c No. A22HG530861X and Account No. A22DG140833F and damages and compensation of Rs. 10,000/- alongwith litigation expenses.
3. The complaint was contested by the Ops, who filed written statement taking preliminary objections that the complaint filed by the complainant is not legally maintainable; the complainant has not approached the Forum with clean hands; the connection A/c No. A22HG530861 is running under NRS category i.e. commercial activity and as such complaint is not maintainable under the Act, accordingly, the complaint is liable to be dismissed. On merits, it has been stated that the connection bearing A/c No. A22HG530861 is being run by the complainant under Hundal Palace i.e. NRS category, sanctioned load of 6.20 KW. It was denied that the connection was being run under DS category. It has been denied that the complainant has been regularly paying the amount. On 28.2.2009 a bill of Rs. 56,140/- was issued. The demand so raised by OP is quite legal, valid and on the basis of rules and regulations of the PSEB. It was further submitted that on 7.2.2006 a sum of Rs. 26,360/- was due towards the complainant against the connection in question out of which he deposited only Rs. 4,000/- and thereafter he did not deposit single penny up to 2.2.2009. A sum of Rs. 56,140/- became due towards the complainant against the connection. The complainant has failed to deposit this amount. Therefore, the bill has been exaggerated due to previous arrears and the Ops have already disconnected this connection vide PDCO dated 7.4.2009. It has been denied that Ops have threatened to disconnect her other connection bearing A/c No. A22DG140833F. However, Ops have right to disconnect the connection of the complainant in case the complainant failed to deposit the said amount and ultimately, it was submitted that there is no merit in the complaint and the same be dismissed.
4. The parties were allowed by the learned District Forum to lead their evidence.
5. In support of his allegations, the complainant had tendered into evidence her affidavit Ex. C-1, supplementary affidavit Ex. C-2, original bill Ex. C-3, legal notice Ex. C-4, memo Ex. C-5, UPC receipt Ex. C-6, postal receipt Ex. C-7, payment receipts Ex. C-8 to 10, copy of order dt. 6.1.2005 Ex. C-11. On the other hand, the opposite parties had tendered into evidence affidavit of Sh. Kulwinder Singh, SDO Ex. R-1, consumption data Ex. R-2, PDCO dated 7.4.2009 Ex. R-3.
6. After going through the allegations in the complaint, written statement filed by the OPs, evidence and documents brought on the record, the learned District Forum did not see any merit in the complaint as the complainant is running this connection for commercial purposes and for that purpose the complainant does not come within the definition of the consumer and ultimately, the complaint was dismissed.
7. Aggrieved with the order passed by the learned District Forum, the appellant/complainant has filed the present appeal.
8. At the time of arguing the case, none was present on behalf of the appellant. However, we have gone through the record with the assistance of the counsel for the respondents Sh. B.S. Taunque, Advocate.
9. In the grounds of appeal, it has been contended by the counsel for the appellant that it has been stated by the appellant that the said connection is domestic one installed in her home and from time to time electricity was used, therefore, the order so passed by the learned District Forum is incorrect and liable to be dismissed.
10. In case we go through the complaints filed by the complainant, although in para No. 1 of the complaint it has been mentioned that electric connection installed in his house but in case we go through the reply filed by the Ops, it has been mentioned that it is NRS connection issued in the name of the complainant in œHundal Palace?. Certainly, the Palace is for commercial purpose. In case we go through the bill Ex. C-3, it is NRS connection with connection load of 6.20 KW. In case it is NRS connection then she will have to contradict the version of the respondents that it was not installed in the Palace but in the house. In case the connectionis released for domestic purpose then it should have been for DS and not NRS. It has not been explained by the complainant how he took NRS connection in his house without explaining what type of business she is running (leading). There is another document Ex. C-11 placed on the record by the complainant, this is copy of the order passed by the learned District Forum, Amritsar in Complaint No. 867 of 2004 instituted on 15.9.2004, decided on 6.1.2005 in which she has referred as Proprietor of Hundal Palace. In case it is NRS connection and is used for commercial activity then certainly, the complainant does not come within the definition of consumer as in the complaint it has nowhere been used that connection is used to earn his livelihood. Even if for the sake of arguments, we take it that it is DS connection then the details of the bills have been given in Ex. R-2. The complainant is not depositing the bills from time to time and it has exaggerated upto Rs. 56,140/-. In case the bill has been issued on actual consumption basis then the appellant/complainant has not been able to prove on the record that on what account she has challenged the bill. She has not pleaded that the meter is defective one otherwise she is legally bound to pay the consumption charges according to the electricity consumed by the complainant/appellant.
11. Sequel to the above discussion, we do not see any merit in the appeal from any angle; the same is hereby dismissed with no order as to costs.
12. The arguments in this appeal were heard on 25.2.2014 and the order was reserved. Now the order be communicated to the parties as per rules.
13. The appeal could not be decided within the statutory period due to heavy pendency of Court cases.