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Consumer forum rejects plaint to fine autorickshaws for strike

A consumer forum here has held that it cannot order Thane Police Commissioner and RTO to fine autorickshaw union for its strike on two days in the city in April this year.

Thane District Consumer Redressal Forum (TDCRF) president Manohar Y Mankar and member Madhuri S Vishwarupe were deciding a complaint filed by an aggrieved advocate from neighbouring Mumbai who sought compensation for the hardships suffered due to the strike.

In his complaint, advocate Sadashiv S Limaye stated that on account of the strike by autorickshaws in Thane on April 6 and 29, he and many other commuters faced hardships.

The commuters make use of autorickshaws and pay the fare and hence, this public transport provides services. It is the duty of the respondents – Police Commissioner and RTO – to ensure that uninterrupted autorickshaw services are available to commuters, he said.

As the number of autos is large, he urged the forum to order the respondents to maintain a database of details of the autorickshaws and present it to the TDCRF.

Till a decision is taken on the complaint, they should not resort to strike, he urged and demanded that the autorickshaws should be fined for refusing services on these two days and that the forum should order compensation for the failure to deliver services to commuters.

However, the forum observed recently that the two respondents were government officers and they performed their duties as per law. There is no customer relation established between the complainant and the respondents, it said.

Moreover, the complainant has not paid or agreed to pay any charges to the respondents for providing the services. Hence, this does not not fall under the category of consumer complaint or dispute and therefore, the forum has no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint, the TDCRF noted.

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