Post Office delay compensation: The NCDRC order on Monday came in connection with a case where the post office had failed to timely deliver a registered post because of which a candidate failed to appear in an exam.
Post office delay compensation: NCDRC fines Rs 1 lakh. Image: PTI
Post Office Delay Compensation: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has directed the Postal Department to deposit Rs 1 lakh in the Consumer Legal Aid Account of the District Forum. The NCDRC order on Monday came in connection with a case where the post office had failed to timely deliver a registered post because of which a candidate failed to appear in an exam. The call letter for a written examination for a job was sent to the candidate by registered post on 06-04-2018. The test was scheduled on 14-04-2018. However, the registered post was delivered to the candidate on 23-04-2018, which is 17 days after the date of dispatch. Aggrieved with delay by the postal department, the candidate had approached the District Forum with a complaint for loss and injury due to deficiency in service on the part of the postal department.
What District Forum said
The District Forum noted that the ” complainant missed an opportunity of getting the job for the post of Majdur under Garulia municipality” because of delay by the post office. The Forum directed the postal department to pay “a compensation of Rs.1,00,000/- (One lakh only) and litigation cost of Rs.5,000/- (Five thousand only) to the complainant within 30 days” from the date of the order.
What State Commission said
Challenging the District Forum’s order, the postal department approached the State Commission, which dismissed the appeal while noting there was no “error” in the decision of the lower forum.
What NCDRC said
The National Commission noted that paid for the services, the complainant was a ‘consumer’ within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act 1986.
“The call letter was sent by registered post on 06.04.2018. It was received on 23.04.2018, after the date of examination (14.04.2018) had elapsed, though timely receipt of the call letter by the Complainant was essential. Belated receipt, after 17 days of despatch, and after 09 days of the written examination for which it was meant, materially impacts the whole gamut, and evinces the loss and injury to the Complainant.”
The mere fact of a registered letter being delivered after 17 days of despatch falls within the meaning of ‘deficiency in service’, the NCDRC said. It further said, “The Postal Department adduced no evidence before the forum of original jurisdiction i.e. the District Forum, or made any averment or assertion in its appeal before the State Commission or in its memo of petition before this Commission, in respect of having conducted any inquiry or fact-finding to ascertain whether or not the delay in delivery was caused “fraudulently” or by “willful act or default” by its concerned officials.”
The National Commission dismissed revision petition of the postal department while terming it “patently misconceived and totally devoid of merit”. It also advised the department to inculcate systemic improvements and imbibe responsibility and accountability, and with Cost of Rs. 1 lakh to be deposited in the Consumer Legal Aid Account of the District Forum by the Postal Department within four weeks of the pronouncement of this Order.”