(1.) THIS is an appeal filed by the opposite party (in short, "the appellant") against the order dated 23.2.2004 of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Muktsar (in short, "the District Forum"), by which the complaint of the complainant (in short "the respondent") was allowed by the District Forum.
(2.) BRIEF facts of the case are that vide resolution dated 20.1.2003, Sh. Sukhdarshan Singh, Chairman of the respondent was authorized to file the complaint. The respondent applied to the appellant for the loan for running a Mini Shelter which was duly sanctioned by the appellant. As per the terms and conditions settled between the parties, a sum of Rs. 4,33,000 was settled as first instalment and Rs. 1,20,000 was settled as margin money of the first instalment to be paid by the appellant to the respondent. Second instalment was settled at Rs. 2,70,000 and margin money as Rs. 76,000 to be paid to the respondent. The third instalment was settled as Rs. 4,54,000 and Rs. 1,29,000 was fixed as margin money. The first instalment was for the shed, whereas the second instalment was for machinery. The third instalment was for working capital. The first instalment of Rs.4,33,000 was paid to the respondent Samiti which was utilized by them. But the appellant had not refeaed the margin money of Rs.l,20,000. The respondent Samiti submitted the utilization certificate of the first instalment. Thereafter, the second instalment of Rs. 2,70,000 as well as margin money of Rs. 76,000 was released by the appellant. The respondent Samiti also submitted the utilization certificate as well as the bills of machinery purchased by the respondent. However, the appellant neither released Rs. 1,20,000 as margin money of the first instalment nor released the third instalment of Rs. 4,54,000 along with margin money of Rs.1,29,000. The unit could not start functioning without working capital. The respondent completed all the necessary formalities and submitted the utilization certificates as well as other papers as and when required by the appellant. However, the appellant failed to release the third instalment and margin money. The respondent mortgaged shop No.45 situated at New Grain Market, Muktsar and one part of the shop on Bank Road, Muktsar, as security. Thereafter, the respondent requested the appellant many times to release the third instalment and its margin money. The respondent also made many representations to the appellant to release the remaining loan amount and margin money, but to no effect. Due to non -release of third instalment, the respondent could not start the functioning of the unit. Due no non -release of working capital, the shed and machinery were lying vacant. As such, it was pleaded that the respondent suffered a great loss as the shed and machinery had been badly damaged. It was prayed that the appellant be directed to pay the margin money of Rs. 1,20,000 of first instalment, to release the third instalment of Rs. 4,54,000 as well as Rs. 1,29,000 as margin money, Rs.10,00,000 on account of loss suffered by the respondent due to non -release of the loan amount and Rs. 1,00,000 on account of mental tension and harassment beside Rs. 20,000 as litigation expenses.
(3.) THE appellant replied by taking preliminary objections that the complaint was filed without impleading the Khadi Industries Commission, Bombay, which was a necessary party, the Board received funds i.e. loan and margin money/subsidy from Khadi Industries Commission, Bombay and disburse the said loan to all the loanees, the District Forum had no pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the complaint as per Section 11(i) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 because an amount of Rs.16,94,000 was claimed as compensation and the value for the purpose of jurisdiction was determined on the basis of pleading's and compensation claimed, the complaint was filed in the month of February, 2003 before the amendment of Consumer Protection Act which came into force on 15.3.2003, the dispute involved in the complaint was not a consumer dispute as defined under Section 2(e) of the Consumer Protection Act, the District Forum also had no jurisdiction to try the complaint as the relationship of the respondent with the Board was of borrower and creditor, the dispute involves complicated and complex question of law and facts which required elaborate evidence, as such, the matter is triable by the Civil Court. On merits, it was admitted that the respondent applied for the loan. However, the respondent had not utilized the loan as per the norms and directions of the appellant. Moreover, the utilization certificate of the first instalment was not accepted by the appellant due to which, the case of the respondent for release of further instalments as well as margin money was kept pending. The respondent even did not pay the due instalments as per the schedule and, thus, violated the terms of the agreement entered into between the respondent and the appellant. It was denied that the respondent made any representations to the appellant. However, the respondent was duly informed about the shortcomings of his case. Firstly the respondent was informed vide letter No. 9581 -82 dated 12.10.1998 that an amount of Rs. 90,373 was due as loan instalment. The respondent was further informed vide letter No.4351 -52 dated 13.6.2000 that an amount of Rs. 3,82,659 was due against him. The respondent was also asked to submit the proof of making payment of the bills for acceptance of utilization certificate. As such, the appellant was not at fault regarding the non -disbursement of working capital. In these circumstances, further loan was not processed due to non -payment of instalments as well as due to non -acceptance of the utilization certificates. The further loan was pending due to the fact that the respondent violated the terms and conditions of the agreement. The Board gets margin money and further instalments from the KVIC which had not been made party to the complaint by the respondent which was also subject to the conditions like acceptance of utilization certificate, etc. Hence, it was pleaded that there was no deficiency in service on the part of the appellant and prayed that the complaint may please be dismissed with costs.
Learned District Forum after hearing the learned Counsel for the parties and going through the record, allowed the complaint and the appellant was directed to pay Rs. 1,20,000 as the margin money of first instalment Rs.4,54,000 as third instalment., Rs. 1,29,000 as margin money of third instalment and Rs. 10,000 as consolidated compensation for loss and mental tension and harassment beside Rs. 5,000 as litigation expenses to the respondent within a period of one month from the date of receipt of copy of the order.;