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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Chandigarh Club penalised for demanding 'illegal' dues

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, October 24, 2013
First Published: 23:19 IST(24/10/2013) | Last Updated: 23:20 IST(24/10/2013)

Providing some solace to Panchkula-resident Ravinder Singla, who had accused Chandigarh Club Limited in Sector 1 of raising an illegal demand of Rs. 68,540 as outstanding dues, the district consumer disputes redressal forum directed it to pay Rs. 10,000 as compensation for deficiency in services.

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While holding the club deficient in services, the forum, which was presided over by PL Ahuja, on Wednesday directed it to withdraw the notice dated October 10, 2012, along with the demand of Rs. 68,540. The club has also been directed to pay Rs. 5,500 as cost of litigation.

As the club referred that a few members had approached the civil court, the consumer forum said, “If the civil court holds that the demand of entrance fee is valid and legal, then the club may issue a fresh notice to the complainant for recovery.”

Singla had moved forum challenging the decision of Chandigarh Club Limited, seeking directions to the club to withdraw their notice asking him to make a payment of Rs. 68,540 in respect of past dues, which were alleged to be regarding entrance fee.

Justifying their notice, Chandigarh Club Limited said as per the audit, the complainant owed Rs. 68,540. The reply suggested that the auditors reconciled the accounts of all members of the club and thus notices were sent to 300 such members.

The forum observed, “The club has not produced any record, which could show that the complainant was required to pay an entrance fee of Rs. 61,000, along with service tax, at the time of becoming member. Hence, the non-production of any record, which is vital to prove the allegations of the club, warrants an adverse inference against it.”

The forum held, “The complainant has been a member of the club for the past 12 years and there is no explanation by the club as to why they failed to recover the said entrance fee earlier. There is no cogent evidence on part of club to prove that an amount of Rs. 68,540 has to be recovered from the complainant.”

The forum observed, “The bills dated October 8, 2012, and December 3, 2012, issued by the club show that nothing was payable by the complainant on those dates. If nothing was due towards the complainant, it is not understandable as to how the demand of Rs. 68,540 was made.”

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