Decided on August 14,1999

MANOJ JAIN Appellant
UNION OF INDIA Respondents


J.N.SARMA,MEMBER - (1.)THIS complaint petition was filed under Section 17 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 by complainant Sri Manoj Jain alleging excessive and exhorbitant billing of the local calls including STD calls by the Department of Telecommunication, Guwahati, in respect of his telephone No. 33357 (new) 31258 (old) at Guwahati. Although the learned Counsel for the opposite parties, i.e., Telecommunication Department, was given sufficient time no written version or objection was filed by the opposite parties. An interim order dated 9.10.1993 was passed by this Commission after hearing both the parties. As this order was not complied with the Commission vide order dated 12.3.1994 directed the office to communite the order dated 9.10.1993 to the Telecom District Manager after receipt of the complainants petition under Section 27 of the C.P. Act. The complaint came up for final hearing on 14.8.1999.
(2.)THE facts of the case may be stated briefly as follows. The complainants telephone No. 33357 (new) 31258 (old) at Guwahati was installed on or after 16.7.1991. According to the complainant his average bi -monthly bill for the period of ten months upto 15.5.1992 was in the region of Rs. 792/ - only and it rarely exceeded this amount. But there was a sudden spurt in the call charges in the four telephone bills for the period spreading from 16.5.1992 to 15.1.1993. Following are the demands made against these bills.
Bill dtd. Period No. of calls Amount 1.8.1992 16.5.1992 to 15.7.1992 33350 Rs. 36,430/ - 1.10.1992 16.7.1992 to 15.9.1992 43348 Rs. 47,628/ - 1.12.1992 16.9.1992 to 15.11.1992 111412 Rs. 1,22,298.20 1.2.1993 16.11.1992 to 15.1.1993 32540 Rs. 35,539/ -

These are the four disputed bills with exhorbitant charges which are challenged by the complainant. It is alleged by the complainant that there must have been some serious defect in the telephone system itself or there had been manipulation or tempering of the telephones either by the concerned employees of the Telecommunication Department or by anybody else in collusion with them.

(3.)THE complainant vehemently objected to these excessive bills as also to the disconnection of his telephone without any investigation and disposal of his repeated complaints. Annexures II, IV, V, VII, IX, X, XI, XII and XIII, are the copies of the correspondence made by the complainant with opposite parties 2 and 3 on the subject of excess billing. As stated by the complainant the opposite parties have not replied to the same, nor made any investigation. Being aggrieved at the conduct of the opposite parties and having suffered irreparable loss for disconnection of the telephone as also being burdened with the liability to pay huge amounts of the aforesaid four bills the complainant filed the present complaint before this Commission under the Consumer Protection Act.
In his complaint before this Commission the complainant has prayed for the following reliefs :

(i) The damage or compensation of Rs. 25,000/ - only for constant high billing, harassment and mental agony caused to the complainant due to wrongful disconnection of his telephone.

(ii) Direction to the opposite parties to reconnect the telephone immediately.

(iii) Direction to the opposite parties to carry out investigation into the repeated complaints of excessive and un -realistic billings dated 1.8.1992, 1.10.1992, 1.12.1994 and 1.2.1993.

In fact, this complaint is within the pecuniary and territorial jurisdiction of District Forum, Kamrup. However in the interest of justice it has been decided to adjudicate the complaint by this Commission itself instead of sending it to the Forum in view of its pendency for a long time since 1993.

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