December 17, 2008 1:49:27 am
This 11-year-old dog was barred from using lift by the housing society in Navi Mumbai
The consumer forum came to the rescue of a 11-year-old dog, Peter Pan alias Shimu, who was not allowed to use the apartment lift by the office bearers of a housing society in Navi Mumbai. Shimu, a pet belonging to Ajay and Nandini Marathe, residing on the fifth floor of New Sarvodaya co-operative housing society was barred from using the society lift. Shimu had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis — an ailment that causes acute pain in the joints.
In its order dated December 11, 2008 the Thane District Additional Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum ruled that the housing society’s move to prevent pets from using the apartment lift without any valid reasons amounted to deficiency in service to the members as per section 2 (1) (g) of the Consumers Protection Act.
The Marathes were asked to produce documents certifying the illness of the dog. However, despite producing the required certificates and reports, the general body of the housing society in August 2008 resolved to ban pet animals from using apartment lifts.
The housing society contended before the forum that the dog was not a consumer of the housing society and hence the forum cannot hold the society liable. The consumer court however said in its order: “The issue of ‘dog’ being or not being the consumer of the society is not valid, instead the valid issue should be whether the complainant is consumer of the housing society or not.”
Since the membership of the Marathes to the housing society was not disputed, the consumer court said: “The dog has valid license and has been certified by a veterinary doctor of having no contagious and infectious disease. It has received all its vaccines. The doctor has also recommended the use of lifts owing to its condition.”
The housing society contended that the use of lifts by pets threatened the safety of the residents. However the Consumer court held that the housing society’s decision to ban pets from using lifts was without any valid reasons and hence amounted to deficiency in service. The court has ordered the housing society to pay Rs 3000 as damages and Rs 2000 as legal expenses to the Marathes.
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