KARACHI: A consumer court has imposed a fine of over Rs1.3 million on the Pakistan Post as compensation for failing to deliver a document to Lincoln’s Inn in the United Kingdom.

Plaintiff Ahrar Jawaid, a lawyer, had filed a lawsuit under the relevant sections of the Sindh Consumer Protection Act 2014, before Judicial Magistrate of Consumer Protection Court (East) Fahmida Sahoowal against the Pakistan Post, International Mail Office, and Pakistan Head Post Office in Clifton, seeking compensation for their alleged negligence, faulty services, physical inconvenience, mental agony and financial losses to him.

After hearing and recording the evidence submitted by the respondents and the plaintiff, the court ordered the Pakistan Post to pay Rs246,909 for the loss of air tickets, Rs1 million as damages and Rs60,000 as the cost of suit to the plaintiff, as compensation.

The court also mentioned that if the respondents failed to comply with the order, they (relevant officials) shall be jointly and severally punished with imprisonment for one month and to pay an additional fine of Rs50,000 under the provincial consumer protection law.

The applicant pleaded before the court that last year in February, he had booked a letter consignment containing his ‘Call Declaration’, a document, meant to be delivered to the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, and its registrar, treasury office in London, UK.

He submitted that he was a student member of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and passed his Bar Training Course in England and the Wales in 2022.

He stated that he was about to qualify as a Barrister of England and the Wales and, for that matter, he had to visit London to attend his Call of the Bar Ceremony — a graduation event — held in March 2023, for that matter he had purchase air tickets.

He explained that due to the negligence and faulty services of Pakistan Post, the plaintiff missed the event as he did not obtain a UK visa because the document was not delivered to the specified location. It was mandatory for him (plaintiff) to deliver the hand-signed document in physical form to Lincoln’s Inn.

During the proceedings, the respondents’ counsel objected that the plaintiff did not adopt proper procedure and filed the complaint after 45 days.

However, the court mentioned that during cross-examination, the respondents admitted that the “time of enquiry is six months from the date of booking”. They (respondents) also accepted that the complaint was filed as Pakistan Post, International Mail Office, had “failed to redress the grievance” of the plaintiff.

Regarding the maintainability of the complaint, the court noted that the respondents had admitted their guilt while offering a compensation amount of Rs11,000 to the plaintiff which was refused by him, adding that the respondents did not object to the jurisdiction of the court.

“The entire evidence of respondents is crystal clear that the letter consignment… Call Declaration has never been reached at the point of destination… and respondents have failed to fulfil their responsibility and failed to dispatch the letter consignment at its destination and failed to redress the grievance of the complainant who has shown his trust in Pakistan Post/respondents and booked his crucial Call Declaration through them despite several other options,” the court noted.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2024

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