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Complaints Against Illegal Deductions By Mobile Operators Can Be Filed In Consumer Forums: HP SCDRC
Live Law, May 15, 2019

The Himachal Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has upheld an order of District Consumer Forum that had allowed a customer's complaint against 'illegal deduction' by Airtel. Rohit Sharma complained before the District Forum that the Airtel deducted an amount of Rs.200 in an illegal manner from his main account. It was alleged that, thereafter an amount to the tune of Rs.148 was credited by the mobile company in the account of complainant and did not credit the balance Rs.52 and thus committed deficiency in service. The consumer forum, allowing his complaint ordered Airtel to pay Rs.52 to complainant along with interest @ 9% per annum and also awarded a punitive compensation of Rs. 2000 to complainant.The company was also ordered to pay a litigation cost of Rs. 4000 to the complainant.

The main submission of Bharti Airtel Ltd. in its appeal before the State Forum was that there is special remedy provided under section 7-B of Indian Telegraph Act and jurisdiction of consumer Fora is prohibited. However, the bench presided by Justice P.S. Rana rejected this contention and observed:

The Commission said that present matter could be disposed of in proper and effective manner under Consumer Protection Act 1986 and it is not expedient in the ends of justice and on the principle of natural justice to relegate complainant to civil court. The commission dismissed the appeal filed by Airtel confirming the order passed by District Forum.

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