New Delhi:The postal department is duty bound to ensure that letters reach their destination in time against all odds, the apex consumer commission has said.
"The postal department should under all probabilities (odds), whether it is in its control or beyond its control, must see to it that the letters reach the destination in time," the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has said.
The NCDRC`s gave the judgement while dismissing a plea by the Department of Post in Alwar against a Rajasthan State Consumer Commission order, which had upheld a district forum decision awarding Rs 20,000 to a candidate who had applied to the state police service but his application was not delivered in time.
The candidate, Alwar resident Pushpendra Singh, had sent his application for the job of sub-inspector in Rajasthan Police by speed post on December 28, 2010 but it had reached the Rajasthan Public Service Commission on January 4, 2011, four days after the last date for receiving applications.
The Alwar-based postal department in its petition had argued that the delay in delivery was due to an agitation by Gujjars and under section 6 of the Indian Post Office Act, 1898, no negligence can be attributed to it.
Section 6 of the Indian Post Office Act provides that no claim will lie against the postal department or its officers merely on the ground that there has been loss, mis-delivery, delay or damage to any postal article unless the same has been caused fraudulently by the officer concerned or by his `wilful act or by default`.
Rejecting the postal department`s contention as "not coherent", the NCDRC bench presided by Justice J M Malik said, "letters sent through speed post are always urgent and emergent. If there is delay due to some agitation, it is the duty of the state to find out some other method to prevent the delay," the bench said adding that "wilful default" on the part of postal department is "proved to the hilt".