Bengaluru: 67-year-old sues post office for lost letter, wins Rs 55,000 | Bengaluru News – Times of India
The city court overruled the immunity provided by the Post Offices Act-1898 to the department personnel, saying it’s high time the staff took responsibility for customers’ suffering.
L Jayakumar, a resident of 5th Block in Koramangala, sent a letter through speed post from the post office at 6th Block on June 29, 2013. Much to his shock, the letter did not reach Mumbai. Following this, he sent a complaint to the Post Master of Koramangala.
On August 7, 2013, he received a reply stating the letter had been wrongly sent to the Income Tax office in Electronics City. Jayakumar’s several attempts to retrieve the letter did not yield results and the authorities closed the matter, stating it couldn’t be traced. On December 20, 2013, the senior citizen approached the Bangalore Urban 2nd Additional District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum with a complaint against the post master of the Koramangala PO, senior superintendent of post, Bengaluru south division, and general most master of GPO Bengaluru for deficiency of service.
Postal Act ‘antiquated’
The postal department’s attorney wanted the complaint to be dismissed stating there’s no service deficiency as it acknowledged the letter was wrongly delivered and could not be traced. The contents of the letter claimed by the customer was untrue, the department stated.
Section 6 of the Post Offices Act-1898 reads “exemption of liability for loss, mis-deliver, delay or damages, the government shall not incur any liability to any postal article in course of transmission by post unless the staff has committed fraud or by wilful act or default.”
The city consumer court judges, who examined the case for six years and six months, termed the Act ‘antiquated’ and said it was time the postal department personnel own up their mistakes. Citing earlier verdicts by courts in Kerala and Odisha in favour of the customer in similar litigations, the judges said the Bengaluru postal department was at fault in this case.
The forum ruled on June 24, 2020 that the department must pay Rs 50,000 to Jayakumar as compensation for losing his letter in addition to Rs 5,000 towards his court expenses , all within 60 days from the order.