Forum directs Post Office to pay compensation
KANCHEEPURAM, FEB.7. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum at Chengalpattu has directed the Department of Posts and the Post Master of Railway Colony in East Tambaram to pay compensation for the delay in returning a money order to a person for over one month.
Rajeswari residing in Nalvar street had on 26 June, sent two money orders for Rs 1,331 each to her landlord Venkatesan residing in West Tambaram. However, the money did not reach the landlord in time. A month later, she made a complaint to the Customer Care Centre in Chennai and on 2 August, the two money orders were returned to her.
In the meantime, Ms Rajeswari made several enquiries with the Post Master and sent several complaints only to be replied that the matter was being investigated. In her complaint to the Consumer Forum, she said that though the distance between her house and that of the landlord was only one kilometre, she was sending the rent through money order as she had a dispute with the latter. Citing negligence on the part of the Postal Department, she claimed a sum of Rs 20,000 as damages.
In their counter, the Postal Department conceded that the money orders had been booked and that on receipt of complaint regarding non payment of the same, necessary action was immediately taken to issue DMOs in favour of Venkatesan, the landlord. The money orders were reportedly kept at the Head Post Office in Tambaram for official purposes.
The landlord refused to accept payment of the money order and were returned to Ms Rajeswari and repaid on July 31. While claiming that action was taken within five days from the date of complaint, the Department confessed that it did not know the real reason for refusal by the landlord. Demanding dismissal of the complaint, the Department maintained that no officer could be penalised for delay or for any other action unless otherwise the staff had committed a fraud.
The Forum said that it was clearly evident that enquiry was commenced only after a complaint. Only after this were the money orders that were lying in cold storage for a long period were returned to her.
Inaction on the part of the Post Master at Railway colony had forced the woman to approach the customer care centre. Unable to understand why the department had taken so much of time for delivering the money orders, the Forum said that there was deficiency of service on the part of the Post Office as well as the Department.
The Forum said that in this case, the officer had got a legal duty to maintain an account of the public money for over a month and as he had failed, the action amounted to `default'.
The Post Master and the Department were directed to compensate to the complainant for the delay in returning the money order for over 30 days. The Forum asked the department to pay Rs. 2,000 as compensation to the woman.
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