MBMC fined Rs 1 lakh for cancelling woman’s milk stall licence
Thane (Maha): A civic body has been fined Rs one lakh by a consumer forum for deficient services after a woman complained that her licence for selling milk was wrongly cancelled and her stall damaged.
Complainant Snehalata Vikas Pawar told the Thane District Consumer Redressel Forum that Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) had issued her a licence in 2007 to operate a milk stall in Bhayander township of the district for which she paid Rs 4,740.
Upon getting the licence, she put up the stall at the specified place on August 18, 2007, but within a few days, the corporation informed her that her licence was being cancelled and she should shift the stall from that place.
Later, she was twice given a new location to put up the stall, but after she started her business, the MBMC, citing complaints from residents and a local corporator, asked her to vacate the place and cancelled her licence.
The encroachment department later allegedly damaged her stall and took it away, she informed the forum.
The corporation, however, argued that the case does not fall under the Consumer Act as there was no consumer relation with the woman.
The relation was just of a licensor and licensee and hence, the forum should impose a fine of Rs 35,000 on the woman and dismiss the complaint, MBMC said.
Discussing the case, forum president Umesh Jhavalikar and member ND Kadam recently stated that the corporation had violated the guidelines laid down by courts with regard to the manner in which licences issued to anyone should be cancelled.
The licencee should be given a showcause notice and an opportunity to present his defence and then only action needs to be taken, which the corporation had not done in this case.
The civic body acted arbitrarily which amounts to deficiency in service, the forum ruled.
It also noted that the corporation had carried out due diligence through its town planning and licence department before issuing licence to the woman for milk business and putting up the stall, hence MBMC had faulted on all counts.
Therefore, the forum ordered the respondents – MBMC, one Swapnil Sawant of licence department and the encroachment department – to pay Rs one lakh to Pawar for her suffering and other expenses, including legal, and also Rs 50,000 for damaging her stall.