Giving trader the runaround costs agri board, committee dear
Penalised ₹22 lakh for not accepting payment through demand draft, ₹20,000 for mental agony and ₹5,500 as litigation costUpdated: Oct 29, 2019, 00:37 IST
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has penalised Haryana State Agriculture Marketing Board, Panchkula, and Market Committee, Charkhi Dadri, for not accepting a ₹22-lakh payment through demand draft.
Disposing of the complaint by Nafe Singh of Charkhi Dadri, Haryana, the forum directed the board and committee to pay him ₹20,000 for causing mental agony and harassment, besides ₹5,500 as cost of litigation.
The complainant was also directed to make an online payment of ₹22 lakh online within two months, while the opposite parties were told to not charge any interest or penalty since June 4, 2018.
The payment in question was due for a plot allotted to the complainant in New Grain Market, Charkhi Dadri, in September 2012. As per the allotment order, all payments were to be made through cash or bank demand draft, payable to the Market Committee, Charkhi Dadri.
The complainant had later built a shop on the plot, and obtained the completion certificate, and commission agent licence to run his business from the premises.
In January 2018, Singh visited the Market Committee’s office to clear his dues of ₹22 lakh through cash. But his payment was not accepted despite multiple attempts. In June, he tried to make the payment through a demand draft, but the board returned it after three months, stating that the dues can be cleared only online.
In its reply, the board submitted that as per government directions, it had adopted ICT (information and communications technology) initiatives by integrating online/offline payments gateway with the Plots and Property Management System (PPMS). A circular regarding cashless transaction was issued in January 2017, stating clearly that payment of all dues will be collected only through the payment gateway/PPMS.
The forum observed that perusal of the circular revealed that in addition to digital modes of payment, the allottees could also make pay through cheque or cash, and turning down the complainant’s payment through demand draft suffered from serious legal infirmities. Finding the opposite parties guilty of lapse and deficiency in delivering services to the complainant, the forum penalised the board and the committee.