The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has sharply criticized Hindustan Petroleum and one of its gas agencies here for depriving a customer of the legitimate use of a gas connection.

The case was brought before the Forum by one Davinder Kumar, who alleged that he had only one gas connection, and had been continuously getting refills for the same since 2009. However, in January 2015, the gas agency stopped supplying him cylinders, claiming that there were two gas connections at the same address.

Davindar Kumar said he had submitted a written undertaking to the gas agency that there was only one single connection in his name, but Hindustan Petroleum continued to deny him cylinders, saying that five LPG connections were registered at the same address under different names, of which four were in the name of the complainant and his family. The PSU contended that the “requirement for providing more than one gas connection is that only one gas connection can be given in one kitchen.”

However, after going through the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Regulation of Supply and Distribution) Order, 2000, the Forum held that the order related to provision of gas cylinders for one household, not one house, where the household refers to husband, wife, unmarried children and dependent parents. It did not refer to gas connections in a single kitchen, the Forum ruled.

Davindar Kumar’s connection was for use by his family unit, comprising himself and his wife, and he was entitled to it, despite the fact other households lived at the same address and shared a common kitchen, the Forum said.

It also said that the agency and HP failed to explain why, in the light of their own contentions, they had released previous gas connections, and had allowed the use of these connections for a long time, without ever raising any objection.

It directed HP and Chandigarh Gas Agency to pay Rs 25,000 as compensation to Davinder “for causing physical harassment, mental agony and pain by not releasing the perfectly valid gas connection in his name, thereby violating their own prescribed rules, despite the complainant fulfilling all the necessary requirements.” In addition, the two have to pay the complainant Rs. 10,000 as litigation costs.

The Forum also observed that HP’s actions amounted to “not only deficiency in service”, but also “gross unfair trade practice” and stated that “it is a matter of deep regret and concern that even though Hindustan Petroleum happens to be one of the top most Public Sector Undertakings (Gem PSU) of Government of India, it has exhibited a totally apathetic, callous, unsympathetic and inhuman attitude towards the customer.”


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