Postal Department Not Liable for Delay, Loss of Article: NCDRC

 The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) said that the Indian Post Office Act provided immunity to the postal department from any liability for loss, delay or damage to any postal article during its transmission.

The only exception to the rule is the case where the Central government undertakes liability in expressed terms, and in the case of delay of domestic speed post articles, the speed post charges paid by customers are refundable, the NCDRC said while dismissing a revision petition.

“…It is clear that Section 6 of Indian Post Office Act, 1898, provides for immunity to the government, i.e, the postal department, from any liability by reason of loss, misdelivery, delay or damage to any postal article in the course of transmission by post except in cases where in expressed terms the liability is undertaken by the central government,” a bench comprising President R K Agarwal and member S M Kanitkar said in an order dated March 9.

“In the event of delay of domestic speed post article beyond the prescribed delivery norms from time to time as a part of money back guarantee, the speed post charges paid by the customer are refundable,” the bench added.

It said there was no deficiency in service on the part of the postal department and the state commission’s order modifying the district commission’s order could not be faulted with.

“The revision petition fails and is dismissed accordingly,” the bench said.

The NCDRC was hearing a revision petition filed by Yogesh Kumar of Haryana, who had moved the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Faridabad, claiming a company sent him a holiday package for Agra by speed post on December 24, 2014, which was to be delivered within 24 hours to 48 hours.

But, the post was delivered only on January 6, 2015, because of which Kumar could not enjoy the tour and suffered a financial loss of Rs 30,000, following which he moved the district consumer commission.

The district commission in December 2015 directed the postal department to pay Kumar Rs 9,760 in lieu of the amount spent by him on booking the package tour and Rs 2,200 on account of mental tension and harassment besides Rs 1,100 towards litigation expenses.

Against the order, the superintendent of the Indian Postal Department in Faridabad filed an appeal before the Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at Panchkula.

Allowing the appeal, the state commission directed the postal authorities concerned to pay Rs 500 to Kumar as lumpsum compensation in addition to Rs 78 as sanctioned by the department.

Against the state commission’s order, Kumar had moved the NCDRC.

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