Monday 20 August 2012

when there is no proper endorsement on returned envelope by postal authority,post master is responsible

judgement pertaining to return of regd cover "no such addressee
Between                                                            1.     The Post Master
        Afzalgunj Post Office
2.     The Post Master
        Village: Mamidi Pally-005
        Ranga Reddy Dist.
                                                        Appellants/opposite parties
                A N D
V.K.Sanghi, S/o late Shri G.P.Sanghi
Age 72 years, Occ: Advocate, R/o 501-A
Major Residencey, Masab Tank
Counsel for the Appellants                     Sri Vasireddy Vinod Kumar
Counsel for the Respondent                   Party-in-Person
                                        SMT M.SHREESHA, HON’BLE MEMBER
                                SRI R.LAKSHMINARSIMHA RAO, HON’BLE MEMBER
                        FRIDAY THE TWENTY NINETH DAY OF JULY                   
                                       TWO THOUSAND ELEVAN
Oral Order ( As per R.Lakshminarsimha Rao, Member)
1.     The opposite parties are the appellants.  They have filed the appeal challenging the order of the District Forum which awarded a sum  of  `1,000/- as compensation and `500/- towards costs besides issuing direction for refund of `25/- to the complainant.
2.     The respondent had sent a letter through registered post through the first appellant to the Asst. Engineer – opposite party APCPDCL, Mamidipally, R.R.District on 22.4.2008 and the letter was returned with the endorsement “no such addressee.  Returned to Sender”. 
3.     It is contended by the respondent that the appellants have been negligent and the postman had endorsed that he visited the premises on Sunday and on other dates, 23.04.2008, 26.04.2008, 28.04.2008, 29.4.2008 etc., as also the appellants had not verified the dates endorsed by the postman.
4.     It is contended on behalf of the appellants that the letter was sent to Pahadi Shariff Branch Post office as the addressee APCPCDL Ltd., Mamidipally comes under its delivery jurisdiction and the postman concern returned the letter with the observation that there was no such addressee.  It is contended that AE (Operation) APCPDCL PahadiShareef has functioned in the house of APCPDCL Ltd., Mamidipally and shifted the office on administrative reasons to plot no.73, Venkateswara Colony, Balapur from the month of November 2007.  It is contended that no intimation about the change of office was given by the addressee to the appellants.  As per Sec.1 Rule 32 of the Post Office Guide, the articles sent through registered post are treated in the same manner as if they have posted in a letter box and in case of delay or damage no claim for compensation can be entertained and Sec.6 of Indian Post Office Act confers immunity  to the officer of the Post Officers for mis-delivery, delay or damage  unless the officer concerned caused the loss fraudulently or by willful act. 
5.     It is contended that the respondent had earlier filed C.D.No.677 of 2006 on the premise of the return of letter sent to A.E. AP State Electricity Board, Mamidipally, R.R.District  which was split into APGENCO, APTRANSCO and APDISCOM (Distribution) with the endorsement that the addressee refused to receive it.  Further, it is contended that the appellants filed appeal before the State Commission in F.A.No.640 of 2007 whereof the compensation was reduced from `5,000/- to `4,000/- and against the order of State Commission the appellant’s filed the writ petition which is pending before the High Court.
6.     The respondent has filed his affidavit and Exs.A1 to A4.  On behalf of the appellants the documents Exs.B1 to B4 had been marked.
7.     Feeling aggrieved by the order of the District Forum, the opposite parties filed the appeal.
8.     The point for consideration is whether the appellants rendered any negligence in dispatch and return of the letter sent to registered post on 22.4.2008?
9.     The respondent had sent letter through registered post on 22.4.2008 through the first appellant to the Asst. Engineer, APCPDCL – OP Mamidalapally Village, Ranga Reddy District.  The letter was returned with the endorsement “no such addressee – returned to addressee”.  Wherever a person leaves or shifts his place of residence or business, it is incumbent on such person to inform the post office about his new address.  In the present case,  the addressee Assistant Engineer, APCPDCL – OP Mamidalapally Village, Ranga Reddy District had not informed the change of his address from plot no.73, Venkateswara Colony, Balapur.  The appellants contend that the addressee had shifted his office from the month of November 2007 to Balapur.  It should be borne in mind by the opposite party that the addressee is not an individual and he is a public officer working with APCPDCL which distributes the energy one of the most essential requirements of the basic human life.  The appellant’s contention that the addressee had not informed them his shifting of his office to Balapur does not obviate their negligence in regard to the endorsement, “no such addressee”. 
10.    The respondent has relied upon the decision of the High Court in W.P.No.1874 of 2008 wherein the High Court had deprecated making of such endorsement not based on any supporting evidence.  It was held:
In Gajula Rama Rao’s case (4 supra) registered notices taken out by the counsel for the appellants were returned with an endorsement that the house was locked for 10 days, hence returned.  The Court ordered that the endorsements like addressee not found, party refused, addressee not in the village, no such addressee and incorrect address should be supported by reasons and especially when the party refuses the letter, he could get an endorsement at least from two mediators preferably, neighbours with regard to refusal of letters.  It was also observed by the division Bench of this Court that if any such endorsements are found, without proper explanation, the postmaster concerned shall also be made responsible and proper action has to be taken against him.
11.    The aforementioned case was referred to, in its written version by the opposite party.  In view of the similar circumstances of both the cases, we are inclined to hold that the appellants were negligent in regard to endorsement made by the postman that “no such addressee” without making any enquiry at the locality of the addressee.  In the light of the decision, of the High Court and for the aforementioned reasons, we do not find any infirmity in the findings recorded by the District Forum.  The appeal as such is liable to be dismissed.
12.    In the result the appeal is dismissed. The order of the District Forum is confirmed.  The costs of the proceedings are quantified at `1,000/-.  Time for compliance four weeks. 
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