A Mumbai resident approached a district consumer forum against the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) alleging overcharging and suggesting changes to the loss-making public transport. Vincent D’souza, a Dadar resident, filed a complaint before the South Mumbai District Consumer Redressal Forum this month, claiming that the BEST had indulged in unfair trade practices. D’souza claimed that on May 8, he had taken a BEST bus from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus to Backbay in South Mumbai and was charged Rs 18. He added that on the same day, when he had taken a bus, with the same number, from CSMT to Mantralaya, he was charged Rs 10.
D’souza also suggested changes that could be brought to the structure and also on seating arrangement of the BEST buses. He sought that they should be allowed to stop anywhere, even at spots without the designated bus stops, like cabs. He also sought Wifi services in buses. With a claim of Rs 5,000 as compensation, D’souza’s complaint, however, was dismissed by the forum, which observed that it did not disclose any cause of action against BEST and was not a consumer dispute. The forum observed that the complainant had made allegations of malpractice and negligence claiming unfair trade practices but had no ‘whisper of deficiency in service’. The forum analysed the definition of an unfair trade practice and found that the definition did not fit the allegations made by the complainant.
“BEST is an autonomous body administered and controlled as per its own Acts/laws, rules and regulations enacted for it. Complainant has not produced any document on record to prove that BEST has breached their laws, rules, norms and overcharged him as alleged in the complaint,” the forum said. It further said the complainant in his plea had merely made suggestions to BEST without showing how its services were of malpractice or negligence.