NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
(From the order dated 16.4.08 in Appeal No.795/08 of the State Commission, Karnataka)
Anuradha Thadipathri Gopinath Respondent
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE M.B. SHAH, PRESIDENT
HONBLE MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO, MEMBER
HONBLE MR. ANUPAM DASGUPTA, MEMBER
For the Petitioner : Mr. R.N. Singh and Mr. A.S. Singh,
Heard the learned counsel for the petitioner.
Admittedly, there was negligence on the part of the Passport Officer in not signing the passport at the time of its issuance. Visa was also issued on the said
passport. The complainant reached the
On the basis of the said passport, if the complainant had travelled outside the country, she would have been found
guilty for various offences. Hence,
instead of travelling, she was required to approach
the District Forum for this deficiency and negligence on the part of the
concerned officer. The District Forum
allowed the complaint in part and directed the petitioner to pay compensation
of Rs.10,000/- and costs of Rs.2,000/- to the
complainant. Against that order, the
petitioner preferred Appeal before the State Commission,
Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner submitted that the Passport Officer, while issuing the passport, was exercising sovereign function. In our view, this contention is totally baseless. There is no question of exercising sovereign function. He was discharging a statutory duty.
He further submitted that the officer was discharging his duties without recovering any fee and, therefore, this would not be a consumer dispute. In our view, issuance or non-issuance of a passport may be a statutory duty and may not be a consumer dispute but issuance of an invalid passport which is not signed by the Passport Officer, would be deficiency in service on the part of the concerned officer as defined under Section 2(1)(g) of the Consumer Protection Act which defines deficiency. It specifically provides that deficiency means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming, inadequacy in the nature and manner of performance, which is required to be maintained under any law. Admittedly, the petitioner is charging fee for issuance of passport and, hence, service is availed by paying fee. A passport, which is issued without the signature of the Competent Authority, is on the face of it invalid which would have placed the complainant in a precarious position and she might have been hauled up for various offences if she had tried to go abroad on that passport. Such lapse amounts to a serious deficiency in discharge of duties, which is in the nature of rendering of service, hence, the complaint is maintainable. This Revision Petition is, therefore, dismissed.
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