PSUs, insurance firms face tough time in consumer fora in 2012


a telephone service provider can be resolved only through arbitration and the consumer is barred from moving a consumer forum for redressal of grievances against a telephone company.

Despite the ruling, Bharti Airtel was ordered by a consumer forum here to pay Rs 25,000 to a post-paid subscriber as compensation for harassing him by demanding fresh documents to verify his six-year-old connection and then stopping outgoing calls on his number.

The aviation sector also faced ire with several major airlines -- international as well as Indian -- being rapped for providing deficient service to fliers.

While Kuwait Airways was ordered by NCDRC to pay Rs 25 lakh as compensation to Rajasthan Art Emporium for delaying the delivery of its consignments of handicrafts to the US, Air India was asked to cough up over Rs one lakh by a Delhi district consumer forum to make its "rude" staff "learn a lesson" for their "callous" service towards a flier.

Continuing to safeguard the interests of travellers, be it by air or by rail, a district consumer forum ordered Indian Railways to pay Rs 60,000 to a woman whose purse was stolen in 2009 during her journey from Secunderabad to Delhi on Andhra Pradesh Rajdhani Express. It also advised Railway Board to provide lockers in trains for passengers to keep their expensive articles safe.

In another case involving the state monolith, a consumer forum held that a passenger's failure to check the requisite date of his train ticket during the booking does not absolve Railways from the liability of giving him the wrong ticket and of rendering deficient service.

Issues related to consumers' health and medical negligence by doctors and hospitals were also addressed by the various consumer fora.

In one such case, a leading children's hospital in the national capital -- Kalawati Saran Children Hospital was ordered by Delhi Consumer Commission to pay Rs 10 lakh as damages to the parents of a child for transfusing HIV-infected blood to him 14 years ago in his infancy.

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