Mumbai: A district consumer commission has directed a person contracted for running a hall at the Marathi Granth Sangrahalay (Naigaon) to compensate a person who had booked the hall, with Rs15,000 to be paid towards mental agony and litigation costs. The complainant had booked a hall in the Sangrahalay for the Mumbai Marathi Granth Sangrahalaya Bachav Kriti Samiti's meeting. However, as the hall wasn't made available, he was forced to conduct the event in an open space after making last-minute arrangements for chairs and other necessary equipment. The event was attended by the likes of Medha Patkar, Ratnakar Matkari and Jagannath Hegde, among others.
The order was passed on a complaint by Parel resident Sudhir Ramchandra Hegishte against Chandrakant Kotkar, the owner of Bhairi Bhavani Mata Caterers which caters to events held at the hall.
Mr Hegishte wanted to have a meeting at the hall between 5-9pm on Jan 28, 2019. He paid Rs1,000 as an advance on Jan 24 and it was decided that Rs6,000 will be paid before the meeting. However, on Jan 27, when he tried to contact Mr Kotkar he received no response. An employee informed him that Mr Kotkar was out of town and assured him that the hall and other services he had paid for would be provided.
However, when Mr Hegisthe reached the venue along with many of the dignitaries, he found the place locked with a chain and sealed. He repeatedly tried contacting Mr Kotkar but to no avail. Mr Hegisthe then arranged for chairs, literature and a mic while the meeting was held in an open space, leading to inconvenience to the dignitaries. Hence he filed a complaint for deficiency in service.
Mr Kotkar rejected the claims and said that on behalf of an organisation, if a hall is booked for an agitation, that cannot come as a private person's complaint under the Consumer Protection Act. He argued that Mr Hegishte had not submitted proof of the Samiti authorising him to take up the complaint, and that he had booked the hall against the office bearers of Mumbai Marathi Granth Sangrahalay, which owns the Hall and that he is merely a contractor there. He further contended that he was not aware that it was being booked for agitation or the advance payment would not have been accepted as there could have been damage to property. He further argued that the remaining amount was not taken and Rs1,000 was refunded to Mr Hegishte the next day.
The commission observed that the Hall was booked on behalf of the Samiti and being a beneficiary of the Sangrahalay, he is a customer. Finding deficiency in the service provided, the commission stated that the order should be complied with within 45 days of receiving it.
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