A Delhi consumer court has taken a telecom firm to task for deficiency in service and harassing a septuagenarian by disconnecting his phone without explanation.
Tata Teleservices Ltd has been asked to pay Rs.46,500 as compensation to
Om Prakash Seth, 71, in a ruling this week by the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission that called the phone an "essential part of day-to-day life".
The commission headed by Justice J.D. Kapoor pulled up Tata Teleservices for deficiency in service and harassing the elderly man by suddenly disconnecting his telephone connection in 2005.
Seth alleged that the telecom company, which had installed the connection in 2005 at his Ghaziabad residence, disconnected it after a few days without prior notice and he had to run from pillar to post to know the reason for it.
He approached the district consumer forum in Delhi which ruled in his favour. Tata Teleservices then moved the state consumer commission.
The company had said in a reply that the telephone connection was meant for Delhi and not for Ghaziabad. However, Seth said he had used the telephone connection uninterrupted for many days and had given the Ghaziabad address while procuring the connection.
The telecom company then came up with the explanation that due to some strict rules framed by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to trace calls, the facility was withdrawn from Ghaziabad.
The company also submitted that they offered an out-of-court settlement to Seth, which he refused and filed the complaint.
But none of this held good with the commission, which dismissed its appeal.
"In our view, restrictions placed by TRAI may not be the reasons for withdrawal of such a facility which was being used by the respondent for long. The telecom company could have served the purpose and object of the TRAI by some other process," Justice Kapoor said.
"By suddenly withdrawing the facility of the telephone, which nowadays is a very essential part of day-to-day life, the company has committed deficiency in service," said Kapoor while asking the company to compensate him with Rs.46,500, including installation charges.
"If the service provider does not redress the grievance of a consumer on its own, it compels the consumer to seek legal remedy by approaching a consumer forum as nowadays legal remedies have become costlier and are beyond the reach of the common man as it takes years to get the grievances redressed through legal forums and in the process the consumer suffers not in terms of business loss or man hours but also other hardships in the legal procedures," Kapoor said.