Summary suit filed on the basis of phone bill:
Itemized phone bill or printout:
The itemized computer generated hard copy is nothing but a human/readable averment of electronic document or data. The validity of computer record has to be decided from various angels and processing at every stage. The human interference or manual feeding or input of data just cannot be overlooked. The computer is nothing but a creation of human intellectual. The computer programme that generates the record/document without further manual or human interference like mathematical calculations, like processing itemized bill. Unless specifically challenged and disputed, the documents so generated just cannot be overlooked, and need to be treated as correct and genuine and unless proved contrary by bringing material on record. “The computer” of the Plaintiff cannot be stated to be a “Personal Computer”, as, the use of mobile services, national or international, have been recorded automatically at various stages. The printouts are nothing but hard copy from the Manstream computer, based upon the data. There is no challenge to the Plaintiff’s computer system. It is well recognized and convenient mode of recording data and the material for further mathematical calculation based upon the agreed terms and tariff plan. There is no further material or evidence and/or even averments to challenge such permissible recording mode of service based upon the actual use by the Defendant. The vague challenge is only of tariff rate. In the present case, in view of the binding agreement and the conditions, the defence of no knowledge of rate is apparently afterthought, sham, bogus and unacceptable.
Itemized bills/ printouts are authenticated documents and reliable to accept the case of the Plaintiff with regard to the usage of Mobile services by the Plaintiff and the mathematical calculation of the charges so derived at, based upon the agreed tariff plan, as per the binding contract. This falls within the concept of the acknowledgment or receipt of liability and data. The Summary Suit as filed, therefore, maintainable and so also the Summons for Judgment.
Possibility of computer fraud:
The computer is invention of human being. The risk and danger of such system cannot be denied. The possibility of defaults in softwares and hardwares is always there. So also because of in carrying out resources apart from manual possible interference in the computer system and data like other system the computer is also suffers because of internal as well as outer problems and vireses. I am inclined to observe that the computer evidence is not infallible. If the case is made out of manipulation, interpolation and corruption in reproduction and if the party able to show the computer defaults or failures in any part of technical or organizational characters and of related aspect of any stage from the manual feeding upto the production of physical record or document and even the defaults and mistakes in mathematical and calculation, then it needs to be decided taking into consideration its cumulative effect on ultimate printouts/ documents from such computer.
When there is no challenge to the Plaintiff’s computer equipment, program, government policies, procedure for use of the equipment, data based and reproduction of its hard copy through printout bills.
The aspect of TRAI rules and regulations on such service provider and the governing law also a relevant factor to accept the case of the Plaintiff. There is nothing on record to challenge that the Plaintiff has used unstandard equipment and entries or the input though to some extent and/or some stage human related, was not in the regular course of business. There is nothing to show that such printout or procedure is impermissible as wrong method or mechanism have been used to generate printouts or itemized bills. Mere allegations of challenge to the authenticity and the calculation for want of knowledge about the direct plan is not sufficient to treat untrustworthy and unreliable. There is no challenge to the authenticity, integrity and reliability of the modes, stature, control and proceedings of the form of transmission of the data. 26 There is no serious dispute with regard to the itemized bill and the way and the procedure by which it is generated, as it is within the purview and ambit and as per the provisions of law and directions of TRAI. As per the agreement, the Defendant is bound to pay for services rendered by the Plaintiff on billing statement as raised. The Suit so filed therefore, is based upon the contract between the parties. Itemized bill therefore, in my view need to be considered as acceptance of liability and/or acknowledgment of the amount due and payable as elaborated in the Full Bench Judgment of this Court Jyotsna K. Valia Vs. T.S. Parekh & Co., 2007(4) Mh.L.J. 517.
Compliance of section 65-B of Evidence Act not required?:
In view of the above undisputed position on record, with regard to the computerised bills and as the plaintiff has not filed supporting affidavit as required under Section 65-B of the Evidence Act, still I am inclined to rely upon those computerised printouts which are admissible and as permissible to treat as supporting documents to pass and/or grant summons for judgment as prayed.
[Source: Vodafone Essar Ltd vs Raju Sud, (Bom). (per Anoop V.Mohta, J.)]
Thus a post paid mobile phone bill is a contract and summery suit on the basis of mobile phone bill is maintainable.
Note: The above decision appears to be a result of rather desperate reasoning. It simply ignores the principle of burden of proof. Not only the principle but also waives the procedure of proof of computer generated printouts which is laid down in section 65-B of Evidence Act.