Complaints Against Illegal Deductions By Mobile Operators Can Be Filed In Consumer Forums: HP SCDRC [Read Order]
The Himachal Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has upheld an order of District Consumer Forum that had allowed a customer's complaint against 'illegal deduction' by Airtel.
Rohit Sharma complained before the District Forum that the Airtel deducted an amount of Rs.200 in an illegal manner from his main account. It was alleged that, thereafter an amount to the tune of Rs.148 was credited by the mobile company in the account of complainant and did not credit the balance Rs.52 and thus committed deficiency in service. The consumer forum, allowing his complaint ordered Airtel to pay Rs.52 to complainant along with interest @ 9% per annum and also awarded a punitive compensation of Rs. 2000 to complainant.The company was also ordered to pay a litigation cost of Rs. 4000 to the complainant.
The main submission of Bharti Airtel Ltd. in its appeal before the State Forum was that there is special remedy provided under section 7-B of Indian Telegraph Act and jurisdiction of consumer Fora is prohibited. However, the bench presided by Justice P.S. Rana rejected this contention and observed:
"It is well settled law that under section 3 of Consumer Protection Act 1986 remedy under Consumer Protection Act 1986 is additional remedy. It is well settled law that Consumer Protection Act 1986 is enacted to protect the interest of consumer. It is also well settled law that there is no provision under Consumer Protection Act 1986 which bars filing of consumer complaint by consumer on the concept of alternative remedy. Opposite parties have received consideration amount from complainant for service rendered and present matter falls within definition of consumer as defined under section 2(d) of Consumer Protection Act 1986."
The Commission said that present matter could be disposed of in proper and effective manner under Consumer Protection Act 1986 and it is not expedient in the ends of justice and on the principle of natural justice to relegate complainant to civil court.
The commission dismissed the appeal filed by Airtel confirming the order passed by District Forum.