Complainant negligent, invited theft: Thane Consumer Commission

A Thane Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, now a commission, late last month, dismissed the complaint of a housing society and its resident against a security firm and said that its own negligence is responsible for an incident of theft in its premises.

It refused the complainants' claim of Rs 12.63 lakh for the theft of gold of the value of 700 grams stolen from the flat of its resident Bomanali Rajanna and a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for mental agony. The commission’s presiding member GM Kapse and member SA Petkar said in their judgment that the complainants wilfully avoided to engage sufficient security guards for 142 flats. Likewise, they also failed to install CCTV cameras and adopt the practice of supplying identity cards and photos of all occupiers, including domestic helps, it added. Thus, the housing society can be said to be negligent, which has invited incidence of theft, it stated.

The commission said further that it was beyond the human capacity of two watchmen in each shift to watch and guard 142 flats situated in 10 buildings at a time and that, consequently, no blame can be put on the security guards for the incident.

The complaint had been filed by Kokan Rail Vihar Residents Association, Nerul, and the resident, a senior mechanical engineer with the Konkan Railways, in whose flat the theft had taken place in October 2013. The society housing Konkan Railway employees had blamed the Security Guards Board of BrihanMumbai and Thane District for negligence by its security guards, which had led to the theft. Their complaint had said that the security guards were duty bound to take care of the flats by averting thefts, robberies and burglaries.

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