Decided on February 23,2010

Hpseb, Kumar House, Shimla Appellant
JAI RAM Respondents


- (1.) APPELLANTS are aggrieved from the order dated 22.5.2009, passed by District Forum, Chamba in Consumer Complaint No. 23/2007. While allowing this complaint, it has been ordered that the appellants will issue revised electricity bill to the respondent after deleting the sundry charges as shown in the disputed bill No. AV 3960305, Annexure C -l within 30 days after the receipt of copy of the order. Appellants have also been directed to compensate the respondent in the sum of Rs. 5,000, together with litigation cost of Rs. 2,000, hence this appeal.
(2.) WHILE challenging the impugned order, Mr. Chandel, learned Counsel for the appellant forcefully urged, that District Forum below had no jurisdiction to have entertained the complaint as according to him, remedy if any available to the respondent was before authorities constituted under the Electricity Act, 2003. Further according to him the District Forum below fell into error by ignoring this vital question, therefore, on this short ground alone, the impugned order was liable to be set aside and consequently the complaint dismissed.
(3.) ON the other hand, learned Counsel for respondent submitted that the impugned order suffers from no infirmity which may call for interference in this appeal. As according to him there is not an iota of evidence on record to suggest that the impugned bill Annexure C -l could be justified against his client. By referring to Annexure C -4, learned Counsel for the respondent submitted without in any manner admitting or conceding that the liability, if any, is that of Dr. Ashok Chowan son of his client who was living separately and independently from the respondent and it was he who was caught red handed while committing theft of electricity even by the staff of HP State Electricity Board, at Village Samrali, PO Sarol, District Chamba. He drew our attention to this stand of the appellants in their reply to the complaint, that it was Mr. Ashok Chowan who was caught red handed by the Junior Engineer of the Board, i.e. Mr. Umesh Sharma, Section In -charge of Sarol. After having heard learned Counsel for the parties and having examined the record of the District Forum below, we are of the view that this appeal deserves to be dismissed with cost. Reason being that in the face of Annexure C -4 passed by none else, but the Secretary of the HP State Electricity Board -appellant No. 1, we are constrained to observe as to why the respondent has been dragged to further litigation. For ready reference contents of Annexure C -4 are extracted hereinbelow: "In connection with the above, it is stated that the matter has been examined on the basis of record supplied and in the facts and circumstances of the case it has been decided to withdraw the demand raised and amount placed in the account of the complainant. A statement to the effect may be arranged to be made before the Ld. Forum so that the complaint is rendered in -fructuous. Thereafter a fresh notice may be caused to be served on Dr. Ashok Chauhan and his agent namely the contractor being the defaulters calling upon them to deposit the assessed amount. In case the demand raised is not satisfied by them, appropriate proceedings for the recovery of the said amount may be arranged to be launched and instituted in the Court of competent jurisdiction in consultation with the Counsel of the Board at Chamba under intimation to this office please. Besides you are also requested to explain the reasons and circumstances which prevented you and the field officer from lodging/registering an FIR against the accused persons on account of theft of electricity under the provisions of Electricity Act, 2003. The matter brooks no delay please.";

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