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February 2, 2013 at 12:30 pm #68453unknownSpectator
We pay Municipal/Corporation tax for their services. Can we charge them for deficiency of services under Consumer Protection Act?February 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm #76726unknownSpectator
Re: Consumer Protection Act for Municipal/Corporation Servic
I’m just trying to start this discussion with the following clue-
1.2-2 Consumer of services – A person is a consumer of services if he satisfy the following criteria :
1.2-2a SERVICES ARE HIRED OR AVAILED OF – The term ‘hired’ has not been defined under the Act. Its Dictionary meaning is – to procure the use of services at a price. Thus the term ‘hire’ has also been used in the sense of ‘avail’ or ‘use’. Accordingly it may be understood that consumer means any person who avails or uses any service.
Example : A goes to a doctor to get himself treated for a fracture. Here A is hiring the services of the doctor. Thus he is a consumer.
What constitutes hiring has been an issue to be dealt with in many consumer disputes. If it is established that a particular act constitutes hiring of service, the transaction falls within the net of the Consumer Protection Act, and vice-versa.
1. A passenger getting railway reservation after payment is hiring service for consideration.
2. A landlord neglected and refused to provide the agreed amenities to his tenant. He filed a complaint against the landlord under the Consumer Protection Act. The National Commission dismissed the complaint saying that it was a case of lease of immovable property and not of hiring services of the landlord. [Smt. Laxmiben Laxmichand Shah v. Smt. Sakerben Kanji Chandan  1 Comp. LJ 177 (NCDRC)].
3. A presented before the Sub-Registrar a document claiming it to be a will for registration who sent it to the Collector of Stamps for action. The matter remain pending for about six years. In the meantime A filed a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act alleging harrassment by the Sub-Registrar and Collector and prayed for compensation. The National Commission held the view that A was not a “consumer” under the CPA. Because there was no hiring of services by the complainant for consideration and because a Government official doing his duty as functionary of the State under law could not be said to be rendering a service to the complainant. [S.P. Goel v. Collector of Stamps (1995) III CPR 684 (SC)].
1.2-2b CONSIDERATION MUST BE PAID OR PAYABLE – Consideration is regarded necessary for hiring or availing of services. However, its payment need not necessarily be immediate. It can be in instalments. For the services provided without charging anything in return, the person availing the services is not a consumer under the Act.
1. A hires an advocate to file a suit for recovery of money from his employer. He promises to pay fee to the advocate after settlement of the suit. A is a consumer under the Act.
2. A goes to a Doctor to get himself treated for a fracture. The Doctor being his friend charged him nothing for the treatment. A is not a consumer under the Act.
3. B issued an advertisement that a person could enter the contest by booking a Premier Padmini car. S purchased the car and thus entered the contest. He was declared as winner of the draw and was thus entitled to the two tickets from New Delhi to New York and back. S filed a complaint alleging that the ticket was not delivered to him. The National Commission held that S was not a consumer in this context. He paid for the car and got it. B was not liable so far as the contract of winning a lottery was concerned. [Byford v. S.S. Srivastava (1993) II CPR 83 (NCDRC)].
The Direct and Indirect taxes paid to the State by a citizen is not payment for the services rendered.
Example : T was paying property tax for his house to the local corporation. This corporation was responsible for proper water supply to the premises under its work area. T raised a consumer dispute over the inadequacy of water supply by the corporation. The National Commission held that it was not a consumer dispute as water supply was made by the corporation out of its statutory duty and not by virtue of payment of taxes by T. – Mayor, Calcutta Municipal Corporation v. Tarapada Chatterjee (1994) 1 CPR 87 (NCDRC).
1.2-2c BENEFICIARY OF SERVICES IS ALSO A CONSUMER – When a person hires services, he may hire it for himself or for any other person. In such cases the beneficiary (or user) of these services is also a consumer.
Example : A takes his son B to a doctor for his treatment. Here A is hirer of services of the doctor and B is beneficiary of these services. For the purpose of the Act, both A and B are consumers.
Note : This is an exception to the rule of privity to the contract.
Note that in case of goods, buyer of goods for commercial purpose ceases to be a consumer under the Act. On the other hand, a consumer of service for commercial purpose remains a consumer under the Act.
Example : S applied to Electricity Board for electricity connection for a flour mill. There was a delay in releasing the connection. S made a complaint for deficiency in service. He was held a consumer under the Act. – Shamsher Khan v. Rajasthan State Electricity Board (1993) II CPR 6 (Raj.).
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