The district consumer disputes redressal forum, Panchkula, has directed Bharti Airtel to pay Rs 15,000 to a Panchkula resident for sluggish 4G internet connection.
Bharat, resident of Sector 19, Panchkula, got a 4G internet connection for Rs 2,500 from an Airtel showroom in Sector 11 here.
He complained that after around two months, the connection started facing troubles every now and then, and also kept disconnecting on its own. Consequently, he lodged 9-10 complaints with the Airtel helpline number, with the last three complaints being filed on July 7, July 18 and August 4 of 2014. However, the issue was never resolved.
When Bharat contacted the staff at the Airtel showroom with a written complaint, the latter refused to receive it.
Bharti Airtel challenged the very maintainability of the complaint by averring that the adjudication of such a controversy fell under terms of provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act,1885, Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act,1933, and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act,1997.
The court under president Dharampal and members Anita Kapoor and Anil Sharma observed, "It may be noticed at the very outset that the objection by the opposition parties (Airtel) regarding the maintainability of the complaint before the forum deservers to be out rightly negated."
They added that district consumer forums were competent to deal with the disputes between individual telecom consumers and telecom service providers.
The judgment said, "It is apparent from a conjunctive perusal of the pleadings made by the parties that there were indeed issues with regard to the pace of functioning of the 4G connection obtained by the complainant and that he did make a number of complaints in that connection. In support of the averment in rebuttal, the opposition parties (Airtel) have not produced any documentation."
The court commented, "By the very nature of things, an individual who obtains a 4G connection would legitimately expect the functioning thereof at a reasonable pace. If such a facility functions at a faulty pace or gets disconnected frequently, it does amount to deficiency in the rendering of services by the service provider."
The court fined Airtel Rs 15,000, which included Rs 10,000 for causing mental agony and harassment, and Rs 5,000 as cost of litigation. The court also ordered for 'a permanent resolution' of the grievance of the complainant.