Not maintaining record of a challan, issued over ‘water misuse’ to a resident of Sector 48, has cost the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) dear. The civic body was directed by the UT district consumer redressal forum to pay a compensation of Rs 7,000 to the consumer.
The complainant, Usha Sharma, had alleged that she was sanctioned an independent domestic water connection by the MC Public Health Department at her residence.
On June 13, 2014 a Sub-Divisional Engineer had visited her residence, inspected the water connection and then issued a challan of Rs 2,000 for ‘water misuse’ on the ground that a notice had already been served on April 21, 2014, through her residential society, flagging overflow of overhead tanks.
Usha alleged that no such notice was served by the challaning officer (SDE) or by her residential society. She then moved a Right to Information application for a copy of the issuance of her challan but MC Executive Engineer replied that no such information was available with the civic body apart from the notice issued to her residential society. Usha then approached the consumer court.
The MC, in their reply to the forum, alleged that an inspection was conducted by Sub-Divisional Engineer at the complainant’s (Usha) society, during which it was found that most of the water tanks were overflowing. In view of this, a notice was issued on April 21, 2014 to stop the misuse of water. After issuing of notice, sufficient time was given to the consumers for rectification of fault, but when they did not rectify the same, challan was accordingly issued to the defaulters.
On the day of the hearing, the forum presided by Surjeet Kaur observed “according to the MC’s own public announcement, after being served a notice, a consumer needs to rectify their water misuse defect within two days, failing which a fine amounting to Rs 2,000 will be imposed. However, the civic body has not placed on record a copy of the notice served to the complainant for rectifying the defect. Also, they have also not placed any evidence showing the overflowing of the water tank.”
The forum ordered MC to pay Rs 7,000 compensation to Usha within a period of 30 days at 12 per cent interest.