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Housing society to pay for theft in flat

mumbai Updated: Aug 22, 2011 01:06 IST
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Not checking the antecedents of the watchmen appointed could cost a cooperative housing society dear.

The Mumbai Suburban Consumer redressal forum recently held a co-operative housing society and its office bearers responsible for a break-in that took place in the house of one of its members, as they did not check the antecedents of the two watchmen who had been appointed.

The ruling came in response to a complaint filed by Keith Fernandez, a resident of Silver Arch Mutual Co-operative housing society in Andheri who alleged that three years ago, the watchmen of the society broke into his house and stole valuables worth Rs 2.5 lakh and his Santro car. Fernandez said he had gone abroad with his family and before leaving, had parked his car in the parking area and locked his house.

However, upon returning, he found his house had been broken into and valuables missing.

Fernandez issued a notice to the society alleging a deficiency of service and demanded Rs 2.5 lakh from them as he had received the insurance claim on the car. The society in its reply argued that it was Fernandez who had instructed them to appoint the two watchmen. “He is responsible for the break-in,” the society argued.

However, the forum observed that the society did not verify the antecedents of the two watchmen and went ahead with their appointment.

“The police were unable to trace the accused several days after the break-in and the stolen articles were never recovered. From the point of view of security, the society were not vigilant and were deficient in providing security to the members,” observed president of forum GL Deshpande and member Deepa Bidnurkar, while directing the society to pay compensation of Rs 5,000 to the member.

The forum took note of the police investigation, which revealed that the two watchmen were behind the break-in.

“If the society had collected their photographs and other details it could have helped the police,” observed the forum.

While awarding compensation to Fernandez, the forum observed that the society had financial limitations and could not ask the society to pay him Rs 2.5 lakh he had demanded.