Manager, Telecom Vs. M. Krishnan & ANR.  INSC 1518 (1 September 2009)
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO.
7687 OF 2004 General Manager, Telecom .... Appellant Versus M. Krishnan & Anr.
O R D E R
learned counsel for the appellant.
appears for the respondents although they had been served.
appeal is directed against the Full Bench judgment and order dated 14.02.2003
of the High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam whereby the Writ Appeal filed by the
appellant herein has been dismissed.
dispute in this case was regarding non-payment of telephone bill for the
telephone connection provided to the respondent No. 1 and for the said
non-payment of the bill the telephone connection was disconnected. Aggrieved
against the said disconnection, the respondent No. 1 filed a complaint before
the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Kozhikode. By order dated
26.11.2001, the Consumer Forum allowed the complaint and directed the appellant
2 herein to re-connect the telephone connection to the respondent No. 1 and pay
compensation of Rs. 5,000/- with interest @ 12% per annum from the date of
filing of the complaint.
against the order of the Consumer Forum, the appellant filed a writ petition
before the High Court of Kerala challenging the jurisdiction of the consumer
forum. A learned Single Judge of the High Court dismissed the writ petition.
Thereafter, the appellant filed a Writ Appeal before the Division Bench of the
High Court. The Division Bench felt that the matter required consideration by a
larger Bench and hence the matter was placed before the Full Bench. By the
impugned order the Full Bench of the High Court has dismissed the writ appeal.
Hence, the appellant is before us by way of present appeal by special leave.
opinion when there is a special remedy provided in Section 7-B of the Indian
Telegraph Act regarding disputes in respect of telephone bills, then the remedy
under the Consumer Protection Act is by implication barred. Section 7-B of the
Telegraph Act reads as under:- "S. 7B Arbitration of Disputes :- (1)
Except as otherwise expressly provided in 3 this Act, if any dispute concerning
any telegraph line, appliance or apparatus arises between the telegraph
authority and the person or whose benefit the line, appliance or apparatus is,
or has been provided, the dispute shall be determined by arbitration and shall,
for the purpose of such determination, be referred to an arbitrator appointed
by the Central Government either specifically for the determination of that
dispute or generally for the determination of disputes under this Section.
award of the arbitrator appointed under sub-s. (1) shall be conclusive between
the parties to the dispute and shall not be questioned in any Court."
of the Telegraph Rules provides that all services relating to telephone are
subject to Telegraph Rules. A telephone connection can be disconnected by the
Telegraph Authority for default of payment under Rule 443 of the Rules.
well settled that the special law overrides the general law. Hence, in our
opinion the High Court was not correct in its approach.
Consumer Protection Council (1995) 2 SCC 479 it was held that the National Commission
has no jurisdiction to adjudicate upon claims for compensation arising out of
motor vehicles accidents. We agree with the view taken in the aforesaid
of the above, we allow this appeal, set aside the impugned judgment and order
of the High Court as well as the order of the District Consumer Forum dated
allowed. No order as to the costs.
.....................J. (MARKANDEY KATJU)
.....................J. (ASOK KUMAR GANGULY)