Decided on September 21,2004



- (1.) O .P. (Electrical Executive Engineer, Muzaffarpur) is the appellant who has preferred the appeal against the order dated 23.2.1995 passed by District Forum, Muzaffarpur in Complaint Case No. 729/1993 whereby and whereunder the Forum has allowed the prayer of the complainant and directed the appellant (O.P.) to pay a compensation of Rs. 2,000/ - to the complainant.
(2.) THE brief fact of the case is that complainant alleged that his domestic electric connection A/C No. 6133/30/38 received a bill for Rs. 11,937/ - for the period April, 1993 to June, 1993. The contention of the complainant was that the bill was arbitrary, excessive and inflated. The complainant prayed to rectify the bill and not to disconnect the electric connection during this period.
(3.) THE O.P. appeared, filed show -cause and its case was that the complaint was not maintainable as it was barred by limitation. The electric meter of the complainant was defective. His premises were inspected in presence of the complainant on 5.11.1992 and thereafter the bill was sent on the basis of average billing. The average unit @ 541 units per month was worked out on the load factor 2505 watts. In support of this contention, Annexure I has been produced to show that inspection was made in the presence of the complainant who was signed over the inspection report. After hearing both the parties, the District Forum directed the Board -appellant to refund back the entire amount which has been deposited by the complainant for excessive billing for the month of September, 1984 to March, 1993 (for the period 8 years seven months) alongwith 10% interest. It was also directed by the District Forum that Board should change the meter of the complainant within 15 days and on the basis of meter reading bills should be submitted and further allowed a compensation of Rs. 2,000/ - to the complainant. The main contention of the appellant before us is that in the complaint there was no contention by the complainant that Board has wrongly charged the electric bill for the months September, 1984 to March, 1993 (for 8 years and 7 months). Therefore, nor any prayer was made that Board should refund back this amount to the complainant. Therefore, this part of the impugned order is against the provision of law and not sustainable besides the Forum cannot direct the Board to refund back the paid amount of electric charges for 8 years and seven months as it is barred by law of limitation besides if the complainant has any claim over any amount alleging that it has been wrongly charged by the Board and if it is barred by the period of limitation then the proper course for him is to seek redressal before the Civil Court both for the condonation of delay and for the recovery of the amount. The Board has been able to show to the District Forum that the complainant's meter was not functioning and, therefore, his premises was inspected in his presence and thereafter bills were sent on the average basis @ 541 units per month as workload was 2505 watts. The complainant has failed to rebut this contention of the appellant besides the District Forum has also did not give any adverse findings to this plea of the Electricity Board. Therefore, the bills for the above period i.e., from April, 1993 to June, 1993 for Rs. 11,937/ - was a correct bill and it was not inflated. Therefore, it does not amount to deficiency on the part of the appellant and the award of compensation in favour of the complainant is an arbitrary order without any basis for the same.;

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