Decided on May 26,2006

Kothari Sons Respondents


- (1.) HEARD . By the order impugned the Forum below has directed appellant -the Union of India and Post Office (General Post Office), Bangalore to pay to respondent -complainant compensation of Rs. 30,525 with interest and cost.
(2.) IT was a case of short delivery of goods viz. silk sarees sent by respondent -complainant from one place to another by "Express Parcel Post". There were two parcels of the declared value of Rs. 28,675 and Rs. 20,750. Open delivery was taken by the consignee and it was discovered that part of goods i.e. sarees were taken out of the boxes and instead some waste stationery was filled in. Inventories of the goods actually delivered to the consignee were prepared. The evidence on record confirmed the loss of Rs. 13,750 in respect of parcel No. 578 and Rs. 16,775 of parcel No. 579. Complainant s evidence in this regard could not be challenged successfully by the appellant -postal authorities inasmuch as the loss as assessed by the Forum below is in tune with the inventories prepared of the goods actually delivered.
(3.) HOWEVER , the question still remains as to whether the appellant -postal authorities were liable to make good to the said loss in the wake of protection available to them under Section 6 of the Indian Post Office Act, 1898. It was further contended by the learned Counsel for the appellants that goods were carried on credit basis and the respondent has yet not paid any charges for the said two parcels and he, therefore, cannot be termed as "consumer" as envisaged under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Forum below has negatived both these contentions of the appellants and we also find ourselves in full agreement with the view taken by the District Forum. Taking the second objection first, Section 2(1)(d) of the CP Act defining the term "consumer" clearly provides that the consideration would include the consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised or under any system of deferred payment. The case in hand was that of a deferred payment and the respondent -complainant was allowed facility to make payment of the parcel charges on receipt of the goods. In the instant case, since the dispute had arisen as to the very delivery of the goods, the charges remained unpaid. That would not however change the status of the respondent as consumer.;

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