File a case in the Consumer Courts for damages, mental agony, and costs. Read the judgements below:
COURIERS LOSING DOCUMENTS
I sent my son's school and college certificates from Delhi by courier to him in Pune. He was to submit the same for his admission to the MBA course. The packet was neither delivered to my son nor returned to me by the courier. Not only did it lead to him not getting admission to the course, but it also caused immense mental agony to all of us. The franchisee of the courier company disowns its liability saying that after collection of documents, it simply passes them on to the company. The courier company says that according to the terms of the consignment note its liability for loss or late delivery of entrusted papers is limited to Rs.100. Will a consumer complaint provide us with suitable relief? Against whom and where should we file the complaint?
Despite the ruling handed down by the Supreme Court in Bharthi Knitwear Company v DHL Worldwide Express Couriers 1996 CTJ 667 (SC) (CP) holding that the courier's liability for non-delivery of packets was limited to Rs.100 only, the consumer courts have, however, found exceptions thereto and have held that because the terms of the consignment notes are not clearly explained to the consignees nor do they sign the same, the courier companies cannot take refuge behind such terms and conditions.
The said courts have also held that the franchisees and agents of the courier companies are equally responsible for losses. In a recent ruling the U.T. Chandigarh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has by its judgment dated November 22, 2011, in Rana Document Centre v Pawan Kumar Goyal (FA 307 of 2011) held that the courier company and its agents are liable to compensate the complainant. In this case the complainant had handed over a letter to the agent of the courier company to be delivered to the addressee much before Raksha Bandhan. However, the letter was neither delivered nor returned. Turning down the defence of the opposite parties, the Commission directed them to pay Rs.2, 500 as compensation for mental agony suffered by the complainants plus Rs.2, 000 as costs. You can file a consumer complaint against the courier company and its franchisee either in Delhi or at Pune as at both places cause of action had arisen.
INHERENT POWERS OF CONSUMER FORUMS
My consumer complaint has been dismissed by the District Consumer Forum as I was not present on the date of hearing. My Counsel had filed an application for restoration of the complaint which too has been dismissed. My advocate asserts that every court has the inherent powers to restore the case dismissed ex parte. Kindly advise.
Every civil court is governed by the Code of Civil Procedure, which confers inherent powers on such courts under Sections 151 and 152. Consumer Forums and Commissions, though popularly called consumer courts, have the trappings of a civil court but are not courts. They do not possess any inherent powers as the Code of Civil Procedure does not apply to them. The Supreme Court has so stated in several judgments. Suffice to refer to its ruling handed down on August 19, 2011 in Rajeev Hitendra Pathak v Achyut Kashinath Karehar (Civil Appeal No. 8155 of 2001).
Relying upon the said judgment, the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has also by its order dated September 29, 2011 in Rushabh Enterprises v Anand Shamrao Gandre held that unless and until the Act, Rules and Regulations provide for application of a particular provision of Code of Civil Procedure no inherent powers can be invoked by the Consumer Forums.