Man gets Rs.500,000 for courier firm’s negligence

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    New Delhi, (IANS) The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has granted Rs.500,000 compensation to a Kerala scientist who wanted to send his son’s body parts for research to a US-based expert but could not do so due to a courier company’s failure to keep its word.

    Amicus Curiae (commission appointed lawyer) Santosh Paul told IANS that it was a unique case and he was happy that the consumer commission noted that the effort that sceintist Venkata Roa was trying to do was for the benefit of society.

    The apex consumer panel set aside Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission while granting relief to Rao.

    Roa, who hails from Thiruvananthapuram, said in his complaint to the state consumer panel that his 17-year-old son, suffering from neurological disorder, died May 10, 2000. His son was under treatment of various medical institutions.

    The medical problem of his son could not be diagnosed so Roa decided to donate his deceased son’s brain and lungs for carrying out a comprehensive research for the benefit of humanity.

    Roa was directed by US-based researcher Bruce H. Cohen to send the body’s part of his son through the international courier Federal Express Corp (Fedex).

    The appellant contacted Babu Jacob, executive sales, Bluedart Express of Federal Express call centre at Trivandrum for it.

    Initially, Federal Express accepted the consignment, containing the body organs, but later refused to send it to the US saying that dispatch of human organs was in contravention of the Fedex policy.

    After going through mental agony harassment, besides loss of the precious organs, Roa filed a complaint seeking compensation of Rs.9.75 lakh under different heads before the state commission, which dismissed it Aug 26, 2004.

    Roa then moved to the national commission.

    “Having regard to the mental state in which the complainant would have been at the relevant time just after the death of his son and the noble cause of research for the humanity at large, the episode must have been a life-time setback to the complainant,”said NCDRC presiding member Justice R.C. Jain, in an order delivered Jan 16.

    Justice Jain added that no amount of money could compensate the complainant for the kind of loss and injury suffered by him and awarded him compensation of Rs.500,000.

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