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Narinder Kumar Jain Vs. Punjab State Electricity Board - (National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) (03 Oct 2017)

Once an act was done in accordance with law, the presumption was in favour of such act or document and not against the same



Instant revision petition has been filed under Section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against the impugned order, passed by the State Commission, vide which, while dismissing the said appeal, passed by the District Forum, dismissing consumer complaint, filed by the present Petitioner, was upheld. The District Forum held that, the electricity was being used for commercial purpose and hence, the complainant could not be stated to be consumer. Being aggrieved against the order of the District Forum, the Petitioner/complainant challenged the same by way of an appeal before the State Commission which was dismissed vide impugned order. The State Commission held that, from the facts and circumstances on record, the Petitioner/complainant/appellant had failed to prove that, the premises in question were two distinct and different premises owned by two different persons. The demand raised by the OP Electricity Board was in accordance with law. The main issue that merits consideration in the matter is whether the extra demand made by the OP Electricity Board/Power Corporation Limited for payment of 1,51,096/- on account of clubbing of two connections is justified or not.

As per the record, there are copies of the checking report made by the Senior Executive Engineer (Enforcement). It has been stated for Connection No. HB16/0040 in the inspection report that, "In between both these connections, after putting the wire through common wall, the supply has been inter-mixed. These wires have been concealed/covered with plastic bags/goods and arrangement for single point supply be made. There is a common office for both these connections and the supply and wires are also intermixed." It has been stated in the checking report for Connection No. HB16/0042 that, the supply of both these connections is given after putting the wires through common walls meaning thereby that the above said load is got with the above said both the connections. Action regarding clubbing be taken and single point supply be given."

The copies of these reports showed that, Representative of Petitioner has signed these reports and obtained a copy of the same as well. Further, the internal auditor of the OP has written a letter that, a sum of 1,51,096/- be charged from the complainant including the electricity duty. Although the complainant has stated that, the said inspection was never conducted, the documentary evidence produced on behalf of the OP belies the version given by the complainant. Moreover, the complainant has not been able to provide any explanation as to how the supply for the two connections had been inter-mixed. The premises in question, could be separate, having separate entries, but since there is a common wall between the two, there could be the possibility of inter-mixing of the two connections. In any case, the complainant has not been able to provide any evidence to controvert the allegations levelled by the OP regarding the clubbing of two connections. The State Commission rightly relied upon the judgment of the Apex Court in the case, "Punjab State Electricity Board & Anr. v. Ashwani Kumar ", in which, it has been made clear that, the inspection report was a document prepared in exercise of official duty by the officers of the Corporation. Once an act was done in accordance with law, the presumption was in favour of such act or document and not against the same. The onus was upon the consumer to rebut by proper and cogent evidence that the report prepared by the officers was not correct. As observed already, the inspection reports have been made in the presence of the representative of the Petitioner and no solid evidence has come forward to rebut the support.

It is a settled legal preposition that, powers in the exercise of revisional jurisdiction should be used only, if there is a jurisdictional error or material defect in the orders passed by the consumer fora below. This view has been expressed by the Apex Court in their judgment in "Rubi (Chandra) Dutta v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd.". In the present case, therefore, there is nothing on record to justify any modification in the orders passed by the consumer fora below. This revision petition is therefore, ordered to be dismissed and the order passed by the State Commission is upheld.

Relevant : Punjab State Electricity Board and Anr. vs. Ashwani Kumar MANU/SC/0469/2010; Mrs. Rubi (Chandra) Dutta vs. United India Insurance Co. Ltd. MANU/SC/0409/2011


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