Sudhansu Sekhar Ganguly, J.
1. The petitioners' case as per their application under Article 227 of the Constitution are the following :-
The opposite party/his father are tenants in respect of two tenancies with regard to two different portions of the self-same house under a religious trust of which the trustees are the petitioners No. 1 to 3. Under the terms of two written agreements for the two tenancies the tenants were allowed to use only the municipal taps served by municipal main line via underground and overhead reservoirs. There is a well within the area of the house the water of which has been used all throughout exclusively for the seva puja of the deities of the trust and for no other purpose. The well has all along been under lock and key, the key lying with the priest, the petitioner No. 4.
2. On 5.3.91 the petitioner No. 1 received by registered post copies of an application filed by the opposite party before the learned President, Calcutta District Forum, Bhawani Bhavan, Alipore dated 22.1.91 along with a show cause notice issued on the same date in Case No. CDF 1234 of 1991 whereby the petitioner was directed to appear before the said District Forum under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 on 5.2.91 with a warning that in case of disobedience the application would be disposed of ex parte. Along with them were enclosed two orders passed by Sri S. S. Gupta, learned President, Calcutta District Forum on 22.1.91 and 5.2.91. By both these orders the petitioners were directed to allow the opposite party to draw water from the well through the existing pump-set and the O.C., Baranagore P.S. was directed to assist the opposite party to draw water from the well. The petitioners contend that the opposite party falsely stated in his application before the Forum that the terms of the agreements of tenancy permitted him to draw water from the tank and that the petitioners mischievously prevented him from drawing water from the well. The Forum's jurisdiction to entertain the application of the opposite party has also been challenged.
3. We take up the question of jurisdiction first.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (the Act henceforward as its preamble shows, was enacted for the better protection of the interests of consumers and for that purpose to make provision for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumers' disputes and for matters connected therewith. Who is a consumer and what is a consumers' dispute?
4. A "Consumer" as per Section 2(1)(d) is (a) a buyer of goods for consideration or a user thereof with the consent of the buyer of (b) a hirer of any services, also for consideration, or a beneficiary of such services with the approval of the hirer. Goods is as defined in the Sale of Goods Act (Section 2(1)(i) ), Section 2(7) of which defines "goods" as every kind of moveable property. Service on the other hand means "service of any description including the provisions of facilities in connection with banking, financing, insurance, transport, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, board or lodging or both, entertainment, amusement or the purveying a news or other information excluding any service-free of charge or under a contract of personal service (Section 2(1)(O) ). Any consumer may lodge a complaint i.e. any allegation in writing that-
(i) as a result of any unfair trade practice adopted by any trader, the complaint has suffered loss or damage ;
(ii) the goods mentioned in the complaint suffer from one or more defects ;
(iii) the services mentioned in the complaint suffer from defeciency in any respect;
(iv) a trader has charged for the goods mentioned in the complaint a price in excess of the price fixed by or under any law for the time being in force or displayed on the goods or any package containing such goods, (Section 2(1)(c).
5. A "consumer dispute" means a dispute where the person against whom a complaint has been made denies or disputes the allegations complained in the complaint. The Act also contemplates establishing Central and State Consumer Protection Councils with the object to promote and protect the rights of the consumers, such as :-
(a) The right to be protected against the marketing of goods which are hazardous to life and property ;
(b) The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumers against unfair trade practices ;
(c) The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods at competitive prices ;
(d) The right to be heard and to be assured that consumer's interest will receive due consideration at appropriate forums ;
(e) the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers ; and
(f) the right to consumer education (Sections 4, 6, 7, 8).
From the above it becomes quite clear that the goods contemplated by the Act are not goods of every kind but only such goods or movable properties which, are marketable, which are actually sold and bought in the market in the course of regular commercial transactions. "Service" contemplated by the Act are also such services which are rendered and accepted as objects of regular commercial transaction, services rendered under a contract of personal service being speficially excluded. Services rendered by institution including govt. institutions such as Banks, Insurance companies, transport agencies, etc. against payment of money would be services under the Act, but not the services rendered by the Government and Public Servants, doctors, lawyers, etc.
6. Thus "service" Under Section 2(1)(o) does not mean and include every kind of services as argued by the learned Advocate for the opposite party. It means and includes only such services which are commercial in nature and are rendered against payment of money.
7. In the case at hand the relationship between the parties is that of landlord and tenant. That the opposite party is the tenant's son does not create any difficulty since the definition of "consumer" in Section 2(1)(d) includes any beneficiary. But I do not think that the complain made in this case would come under the purview of the Act and this for two reasons. Agreement to supply water, if any, was part of the contract of tenancy which (1) apart from being a contract of personal service, (2) was not in the nature of a commercial transaction. This aspect of the Act escaped the notice of the President of the District Forum and the proceeding started and the order passed by him cannot, therefore, be supported.
8. In view of all that has been stated above the impugned orders passed by the learned President of the District Forum are hereby set aside and the proceeding in which the said orders have been passed is hereby quashed. The application is disposed of accordingly.