By Adv. Jatin Ramaiya
The chief officer, Margao Municipal Council, approached the Goa State Consumer Disputes Commission, Panaji, assailing an order passed in a consumer complaint by Dr DJ De Souza in the District Forum, South Goa. In the order challenged by the chief officer, the members of the District Forum had closed and revoked the opportunity to the Chief Officer to lead evidence in the complaint filed by De Souza. Invoking the revisional powers of the State Commission, the Chief Officer through his Adv. Ivan Santimano urged that not only the order of closing evidence on the first opportunity was harsh but also amounted to failure in exercise of jurisdiction vested in the Forum or acting in exercise of the said jurisdiction with material irregularity.
De Souza on the other hand filed his written submissions, which was taken into consideration by the State Commission which partly allowed the revision petition filed by the chief officer of the MMC.
The members of the Commission after considering the material on record and arguments held that, “It is seen that the matter was fixed for the first time for filing affidavit-in-evidence by the opposing party on August 6 2018 and on that day itself the evidence of the opposing party was closed without giving any further opportunity. First of all, this is very harsh and against the spirit of law. Now, in the present revision petition, the opposing party has explained that on July 27 2018 after the complainant filed his affidavit-in-evidence and the next date was given for affidavit-in-evidence, the advocate of the opposing party wrongly recorded the next date as August 6 2018 at 2.30 pm. when actually the matter was fixed in the morning session of that day.
The Commission further held that, even otherwise, in the interest of justice, the Forum ought to have given at least one more opportunity to the opposing party warning that this shall be final opportunity to file affidavit-in-evidence. The order closing the evidence without giving further opportunity has caused grave prejudice and injustice to the opposing party. Closure of evidence would mean hearing the matter ex parte.”