The Maharashtra State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission recently reduced the fine slapped on Thane's General Post Office (GPO) by the Thane district consumer redressal forum. The forum had found the GPO guilty of using excess time unnecessarily to complete the procedure of an account transfer.
The state commission in its order, however, upheld the district forum's order of holding the postal department guilty of failing to act promptly on the transfer of account. But levying a fine of Rs25,000 on the department would unnecessary increase the burden on the tax payers. Thus, the state commission reduced the fine amount from Rs25,000 to Rs2,500.
In 2010, Sudarshan Maini, a Thane resident, had approached the forum and filed a complaint against the GPO for its negligent service. "Maini had a Monthly Income Scheme (MIS) account with the post office in Khajurao, Madhya Pradesh, in which he had deposited an amount of Rs25,000. Accordingly, he was getting a monthly income of Rs166 on the deposited amount. On October 13, 2009, when the account was about to reach its maturity, Maini had approached the department and requested it to transfer the account from Khajurao to Thane branch by April 5, 2010. However, instead of transferring the account immediately, the department took six months and did it on October 4. Aggrieved by this negligent behaviour, the complainant approached the district forum and filed a complaint," reads the state commission's order copy.
The department in its reply to the district forum accepted the delay and claimed that appropriate action was already taken in the case. After going through the evidence, the district forum found the postal department guilty and thus imposed a fine of Rs25,000 on it.
To challenge the high compensation amount slapped by the district forum, the postal department moved the state commission. After going through the evidence and facts the commission held: "There can be no doubt that the postal department have been negligent in transferring the account promptly. All the same, India Post is a department of Government of India and saddling it with hefty compensation of Rs25,000 would unnecessary result in burden being passed on to the tax payers."
The commission further came to a conclusion that Maini could have received a sum of Rs166 per month, had his account continued till the amount in deposit was actually paid to him. "In this view, we would reduce the compensation ordered from Rs25,000 to Rs2,500 towards the delay in transferring the account," the commission held.