Essential Extracts.Consumer Protection Act, 1986

2. Definitions. –

  • (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, –

    • [(a) “appropriate laboratory” means a laboratory or organisation –

      • (i) recognised by the Central Government;
      • (ii) recognised by a State Government, subject to such guidelines as may be prescribed by the Central Government in this behalf; or
      • (iii) any such laboratory or organisation established by or under any law for the time being in force, which is maintained, financed or aided by the Central Government or a State Government for carrying out analysis or test of any goods with a view to determining whether such goods suffer from any defect;]
  • [(aa) “branch office” means –

    • (i) any establishment described as a branch by the opposite party; or
    • (ii) any establishment carrying on either the same or substantially the same activity as that carried on by the head office of the establishment;]
  • (b) “complainant” means –

    • (i) a consumer; or
    • (ii) any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) or under any other law for the time being in force; or
    • (iii) the Central Government or any State Government;
    • [(iv) [one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest;]
    • [(v) In case of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative,] who or which makes a complaint;
  • (c) “complaint” means any allegation in writing made by a complainant that

    • [(i) an unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice has been adopted by [“any trader or service provider”]
    • [(ii) the goods brought by him or agreed to be brought by him] suffer from one or more defects;
    • [(iii) the services hired or availed of or agreed to be hired or availed of by him] suffer from deficiency in any respect;
    • [(iv) a trader or the service provider, as the case may be, has charged for the goods or for the services mentioned in the complaint, a price in excess of the price –

      • (a) fixed by or under any law for the time being in force;
      • (b) displayed on the goods or any package containing such goods;
      • (c) displayed on the price list exhibited by him by or under any law for the time being in force;
      • (d) agreed between the parties;
  • (v) goods which will be hazardous to life and safety when used are being offered for sale to the public, _

    • (a) in contravention of any standards relating to safety of such goods as required to be complied with, by or under any law for the time being in force;
    • (b) if the trader could have known with due diligence that the goods so offered are unsafe to the public;
  • (vi) services which are hazardous or likely to be hazardous to life and safety of the public when used, are being offered by the service provider which such person could have known with due diligence to be injurious to life and safety;]

    • with a view to obtaining any relief provided by or under this Act;
  • (d) “consumer” means any person who –

    • (i) buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment when such use is made with the approval of such person, but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose; or
    • (ii) [hires or avails of] any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than person who [hires or avails of] the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person [but does not include a person who avails of such services for any commercial purpose];
  • Explanation –For the purposes of this clause, “commercial purpose” does not include use by a person of goods bought and used by him and services availed by him exclusively for the purpose of earning his livelihood by means of self-employment;
  • (e) “consumer dispute” means a dispute where the person against whom a complaint has been made, denies or disputes the allegations contained in the complaint.
  • (f) “defect” means any fault, imperfection or shortcoming in the quality, quantity, potency, purity or standard which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force [under any contract, express or implied or] as is claimed by the trader in any manner whatsoever in relation to any goods;
  • (g) “deficiency” means any fault, imperfection, shortcoming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service;
  • (h) “District Forum” means a Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum established under clause (a) of Section 9;
  • (i) “goods” means goods as defined in the Sale of Goods Act, 1930 (3 of 1930);
  • [(j) “manufacturer” means a person who –

    • (i) makes or manufactures any goods or parts thereof; or
    • (ii) does not make or manufacture any goods but assembles parts thereof made or manufactured by others; or
    • (iii) puts or causes to be put his own mark on any goods made or manufactured by any other manufacturer;
    • [(jj) “member” includes the President and a member of the National Commission or a State Commission or a District Forum, as the case may be;]
  • (k) “National Commission” means the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established under clause (c) of section 9;
  • (l) “notification” means a notification published in the Official Gazette;
  • (m) “person” includes, _

    • (i) a firm whether registered or not;
    • (ii) a Hindu undivided family;
    • (iv) every other association of persons whether registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or not;
  • (n) “prescribed” means prescribed by rules made by the State Government or as the case may be, by the Central Government under this Act;
  • (nn)“regulation” means the regulations made by the National Commission under this Act;
  • (nnn) “restrictive trade practice” means a trade practice which tends to bring about manipulation of price or its conditions of delivery or to affect flow of supplies in the market relating to goods or services in such a manner as to impose on the consumers unjustified costs or restrictions and shall include –

    • (a) delay beyond the period agreed to by a trader in supply of such goods or in providing the services which has led or is likely to lead to rise in the price;
    • (b) any trade practice which requires a consumer to buy, hire or avail of any goods or, as the case may be, services as condition precedent to buying, hiring or availing of other goods of services’;]
  • (o) “service” means service of any description which is made available to potential [users and includes, but not limited to, the provisions of] facilities in connection with banking, financing insurance, transport, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, board or lodging or both, [housing construction,] entertainment, amusement or the purveying of news or other information, but does not include the rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service;
  • (oo) “spurious goods and services” means such goods and services which are claimed to be genuine but they are actually not so;
  • (p) “State Commission” means a Consumer Disputes Redressal Com-mission established in a State under clause (b) of section 9;
  • (q) “trader” in relation to any goods means a person who sells or distributes any goods for sale and includes the manufacturer thereof, and where such goods are sold or distributed in package form, includes the packer thereof;
  • [(r) “unfair trade practice” means a trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, adopts any unfair method or unfair or deceptive practice including any of the following practices, namely:

    • (1) the practice of making any statement, whether orally or in writing or by visible representation which, –

      • (i) falsely represents that the goods are of a particular standard, quality, quantity, grade, composition, style or model;
      • (ii) falsely represents that the services are of a particular standard, quality or grade;
      • (iii) falsely represents any re-built, second-hand, renovated, reconditioned or old goods as new goods;
      • (iv) represents that the goods or services have sponsorship, approval, performance, characteristics, accessories, uses or benefits which such goods or services do not have;
      • (v) represents that the seller or the supplier has a sponsorship or approval or affiliation which such seller or supplier does not have;
      • (vi) makes a false or misleading representation concerning the need for, or the usefulness of, any goods or services;
      • (vii) gives to the public any warranty or guarantee of the performance, efficacy or length of life of a product or of any goods that is not based on an adequate or proper test thereof:
  • Provided that where a defence is raised to the effect that such warranty or guarantee is based on adequate or proper test, the burden of proof of such defence shall lie on the person raising such defences;

    • (vii) makes to the public a representation in a form that purports to be –

      • (i) warranty or guarantee of a product or of any goods or services; or
      • (ii) a promise to replace, maintain or repair an article or any part thereof or to repeat or continue a service until it has achieved a specified result,
  • if such purported warranty or guarantee or promise is materially misleading or if there is no reasonable prospect that warranty, guarantee or promise will be carried out;

    • (ix) materially misleads the public concerning the price at which a product or like products or goods or services, have been or are, ordinarily sold or provided, and, for this purpose, a representation as to price shall be deemed to refer to the price at which the product or goods or services has or have been sold by sellers or provided by suppliers generally in the relevant market unless it is clearly specified to be the price at which the product has been sold or services have been provided by the person by whom or on whose behalf the representation is made;
    • (x) gives false or misleading facts disparaging the goods, services or trads of another person.
  • Explanation: – For the purposes of clause (1), a statement that is –

    • (a) expressed on an article offered or displayed for sale, or on its wrapper or container; or
    • (b) expressed on anything attached to, inserted in, or accompanying, an article offered or displayed for sale, or on anything on which the article is mounted for display or sale; or
    • (c) contained in or on anything that is sold, sent, delivered transmitted or in any other manner whatsoever made available to a member of the public, shall be deemed to be a statement made to the public by, and only, by, the person who had caused the statement to be so expressed, made or contained;
  • (2) permits the publication of any advertisement whether in any newspaper or otherwise, for the sale or supply at a bargain price, of goods or services that are not intended to be offered for sale or supply at the bargain price, or for a period that is, and in quantities that are, reasonable, having regard to the nature of the market in which the business is carried on, the nature and size of business, and the nature of the advertisement.
  • Explanation: – For the purpose of clause (2), “bargaining price” means –

    • (a) a price that is stated in any advertisement to be a bargain price, by reference to an ordinary price or otherwise, or
    • (b) a price that a person who reads, hears or sees the advertisement, would reasonable understand to be a bargain price having regard to the prices at which the product advertised or like products are ordinarily sold;
  • (3) permits –

    • (a) the offering of gifts, prizes or other items with the intention of not providing them as offered or creating impression that something is being given or offered free of charge when it is fully or partly covered by the amount charged in the transaction as a whole;
    • (b) the conduct of any contest, lottery, game of chance or skill, for the purpose of promoting, directly or indirectly, the sale, use or supply of any product or any business interest;
  • [(3A) withholding from the participants of any scheme offering gifts, prizes or other items free of charge, on its closure the information about final results of the scheme.
  • Explanation: – For the purpose of this sub-clause, the participants of a scheme shall be deemed to have been informed of the final results of the scheme where such results are within a reasonable time published, prominently in the same newspapers in which the scheme was originally advertised;]

    • (4) permits the sale or supply of goods intended to be used, or are of a kind likely to be used, by consumers, knowing or having reason to believe that the goods do not comply with the standards prescribed by competent authority relating to performance, composition, contents, design, constructions, finishing or packaging as are necessary to prevent or reduce the risk of injury to the person using the goods;
    • (5) permits the hoarding or destruction of goods, or refuses to sell the goods or to make them available for sale or to provide any service, if such hoarding or destruction or refusal raised or tends to raise or is intended to raise, the cost of those or other similar goods or services.]
    • [(6) manufacture of spurious goods or offering such goods for sale or adopting deceptive practices in the provision of services.]
    • (2) Any reference in this Act to any other Act or provision thereof which is not in force in any area to which this Act applies shall be construed to have a reference to the corresponding Act or provision thereof in force in such area.
  • 3. Act not in derogation of any other law. – The provisions of this Act shall be in addition to and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law for the time being in force.
  • 11. Jurisdiction of the District Forum. –

    • (1) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the District Forum shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and the compensation, if any, claimed [does not exceed rupees twenty lakhs]
    • (2) A complaint shall be instituted in a District Forum within the local limits of whose jurisdiction, –

      • (a) the opposite party or each of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides or [carries on business or has a branch office or] personally works for gain, or
      • (b) any of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides, or [carries on business or has a branch office], or personally works for gain, provided that in such case either the permission of the District Forum is given, or the opposite parties who do not reside, or [carry on business or have a branch office], or personally work for gain, as the case may be, acquiesce in such institution; or
      • (c) the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises.
  • [12. Manner in which complaint shall be made. –

    • (1) A complaint in relation to any goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or any service provided or agreed to be provided may be filed with a District Forum by –

      • (a) the consumer to whom such goods are sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or such service provided or agreed to be provided;
      • (b) any recognised consumer association whether the consumer to whom the goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or service provided or agreed to be provided is a member of such association or not;
      • (c) one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest, with the permission of the District Forum, on behalf of, or for the benefit of all consumers so interested; or
      • (c) one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest, with the permission of the District Forum, on behalf of, or for the benefit of all consumers so interested; or
  • (2) Every complaint filed under sub-section (1) shall be accompanied with such amount of fee and payable in such manner as may be prescribed.
  • (3) On receipt of a complaint made under sub-section (1), the District Forum may, by order, allow the complaint to be proceeded with or rejected:
  • Provided that a complaint shall not be rejected under this sub-section unless an opportunity of being heard has been given to the complainant:
  • Provided further that the admissibility of the complaint shall ordinarily be decided within twenty-one days from the date on which the complaint was received.
  • (4) Where a complaint is allowed to be proceeded with under sub-section (3), the District Forum may proceed with the complaint in the manner provided under this Act:
  • Provided that where a complaint has been admitted by the District Forum, it shall not be transferred to any other court or tribunal or any authority set up by or under any other law for the time being in force.
  • Explanation. – For the purpose of this section, “recognised consumer association” means any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) or any other law for the time being in force.]
  • COMMENTS
  • Complex issue of law and fact – Complaint filed claiming damages worth Rs.4.68 crores with interest @ 18% – Held that the complaint raises various complex issues both of law and facts – There are numerous documents which have to be proved to sustain the claim made in the complaint – Such type of complaint requires tremendous amount of time for recording evidence and hearing arguments – The Commission has to decide a complaint within a set time schedule and exercises summary jurisdiction, the complaint is not fit to be entertained – Complaint dismissed and complainant left to seek his remedy before appropriate Forum. Niwas Spinning Mills Ltd. and others vs. Canbank Mutual Fund and another, 2002(1) CLT 113 (NC)
  • Insurance claim – Repudiation – Complaint – Maintainability – Merely because the claim is repudiated could not be a ground by itself to non-suit the complainant. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd vs. M/s. Baba Lal and Co., 2002(1) CLT 207 (NC)
  • 13. [Procedure on admission of complaint.] –

    • (1) The District Forum shall, [on admission of a complaint], if it relates to any goods –

      • [(a) refer a copy of the admitted complaint, within twenty-one days from the date of its admission to the opposite party mentioned in the complaint directing him to give his version of the case within a period of thirty days or such extended period not exceeding fifteen days as may be granted by the District Forum]
      • (b) where the opposite party on receipt of a complaint referred to him under clause (a) denies or disputes the allegations contained in the complaint, or omits or fails to take any action to represent his case within the time given by the District Forum, the District Forum shall proceed to settle the consumer dispute in the manner specified in clauses (c) to (g);
      • (c) where the complaint alleges a defect in the goods which cannot be determined without proper analysis or test of the goods, the District Forum shall obtain a sample of the goods from the complainant, seal it and authenticate it in the manner prescribed and refer the sample so sealed to the appropriate laboratory along with a direction that such laboratory make an analysis or test, whichever may be necessary, with a view to finding out whether such goods suffer from any defect alleged in the complaint or from any other defect and to report its findings thereon to the District Forum within a period of forty-five days of the receipt of the reference or within such extended period as my be granted by the District Forum;
      • (d) before any sample of the goods is referred to any appropriate laboratory under clause (c), the District Forum may require the complainant to deposit to the credit of the Forum such fees as may be specified, for payment to the appropriate laboratory for carrying out the necessary analysis or test in relation to the goods in question;
      • (e) the District Forum shall remit the amount deposited to its credit under clause (d) to the appropriate laboratory to enable it to carry out the analysis or test mentioned in clause (c) and on receipt of the report from the appropriate laboratory, the District Forum shall forward a copy of the report along with such remarks as the District Forum a copy of the report along with such remarks as the District Forum may feel appropriate to the opposite party;
      • (f) If any of the parties disputes the correctness of the findings of the appropriate laboratory, or disputes the correctness of the methods of analysis or test adopted by the appropriate laboratory, the District Forum shall require the opposite party or the complainant to submit in writing his objections in regard to the report made by the appropriate laboratory;
      • (g) the District Forum shall thereafter give a reasonable opportunity to the complainant as well as the opposite party of being heard as to the correctness or otherwise of the report made by the appropriate laboratory and also as to the objection made in relation thereto under clause (f) and issue an appropriate order under section 14.
  • (2) The District Forum shall, if the [complaints admitted] by it under section 12 relates to goods in respect of which the procedure specified in sub-section (1) cannot be followed, or if the complaint relates to any services, –

    • (a) refer a copy of such complaint to the opposite party directing him to give his version of the case within a period of thirty days or such extended period not exceeding fifteen days as may be granted by the District Forum;
    • (b) where the opposite party, on receipt of a copy of the complaint, referred to him under clause (a) denies or disputes the allegations contained in the complaint, or omits or fails to take any action to represent his case within the time given by the District Forum, the District Forum shall proceed to settle the consumer dispute –

      • (i) on the basis of evidence brought to its notice by the complainant and the opposite party, where the opposite party denies or disputes the allegations contained in the complaint, or
      • (ii) [ex-parte on the basis of evidence] brought to its notice by the complainant where the opposite party omits or fails to take any action to represent his case within the time given by the Forum.
    • (c) where the complainant fails to appear on the date of hearing before the District Forum, the District Forum may either dismiss the complaint for default or decide it on merits”.
  • (3) No proceedings complying with the procedure laid down in sub-sections (1) and (2) shall be called in question in any Court on the ground that the principles of natural justice have not been complied with.
  • [(3A) Every complaint shall be heard as expeditiously as possible and endeavour shall be made to decide the complaint within a period of three months from the date of receipt of notice by opposite party where the complaint does not require analysis or testing of commodities and within five months, if it requires analysis or testing of commodities:
  • Provided that no adjournment shall be ordinarily granted by the District Forum unless sufficient cause is shown and the reasons for grant of adjournment have been recorded in writing by the Forum:
  • Provided further that the District Forum shall make such orders as to the costs occasioned by the adjournment as may be provided in the regulations made under this Act:
  • Provided also that in the event of a complaint being disposed of after the period so specified, the District Forum shall record in writing, the reasons for the same at the time of disposing of the said complaint.
  • (3B) Where during the pendency of any proceeding before the District Forum, it appears to it necessary, it may pass such interim order as is just and proper in the facts and circumstances of the case.]
  • (4) For the purposes of this section, the District Forum shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 while trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely: –

    • (i) the summoning and enforcing the attendance of any defendant or witness and examining the witness on oath;
    • (ii) the discovery and production of any document or other material object producible as evidence;
    • (iii) the reception of evidence on affidavits;
    • (iv) the requisitioning of the report of the concerned analysis or test from the appropriate laboratory or from any other relevant source;
    • (v) issuing of any commission for the examination of any witness; and
    • (vi) any other matter which may be prescribed.
  • (5) Every proceeding before the District Forum shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code, (45 of 1860) and the District Forum shall be deemed to be a civil Court for the purposes of section 195, and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  • [(6) Where the complainant is a consumer referred to in sub-clause (iv) of clause (b) of sub-section (1) of section 2, the provisions of rule 8 of Order 1 of the First Schedule to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 shall apply subject to the modification that every reference therein to a suit or a decree shall be construed as a reference to a complaint or the order of the District Forum thereon.]
  • [(7) In the event of death of a complainant who is a consumer or of the opposite party against whom the complaint has been filed, the provisions of Order XXII of the First Schedule to the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) shall apply subject to the modification that every reference therein to the plaintiff and defendant shall be construed as reference to a complainant or the opposite party, as the case may be.]
  • COMMENTS
  • Air ticket – Refund – Necessary party – Refusal of refund by Air India to refund the amount – Complaint filed against the agent without making Air India as OP in the proceedings – Held that in the absence of Air India, State Commission rightly held that no liability could be foisted on the travel agent respondent. Namita Nigam vs. Janta Travels, 2002(1) CLT 222 (NC)
  • Defective seeds – Water melon – Complainant could not get proper crop – Plea of the petitioner that procedure adopted in allowing complaint was contrary to Section 13 of the Act as seeds would have been sent for analysis repelled – The seeds purchased already sown in the soil and not possible to test the quality – Statement of Horticulture Officer and another officer on record who were of the opinion that seeds were of defective quality – The orders of For a below in allowing the complaint requires no interference under clause (b) of Section 21 of the Act. Bejo Sheetal Seeds vs. Bolla Venkanna and others, 2002(2) CLT 469 (NC)
  • Local Commissioner – Appointment of – It is a part of the proceedings and cannot to be an order granting any relief to the complainants. Con Décor rep. by its Managing Partner vs. Smritikana Ghose and another, 2002(3) CLT 516 (NC)
  • Procedure – Insurance claim – Question of fact – Whether any averment about a fact made in the claim petitions or the award before the M.A.C.T. can be taken to be the proof regarding the said fact – Held No. Faquir Chand vs. National Insurance Company Limited and others, 2002(3) CLT 339 (UT)
  • Procedure – Affidavit – Cross examination of witness or party – Before a forum under Consumer Protection Act not a rule but only an exception – When reputation of a person, like medical practitioner in the case of alleged medical negligence is involved, he will have a right to cross-examine any person alleging professional negligence against him – When it is merely a question as to veracity of the statement of the witness, cross-examination cannot be permitted – In that case to contradict a party can certainly file his own affidavit or of any other witness. Con Décor rep. by its Managing Partner vs. Smritikana Ghose and another, 2002(3) CLT 516 (NC)
  • Procedure – Adjournment – Any request for adjournment in the proceedings before consumer forum unless circumstances are beyond the control of the party is quite abhorrent. Con Décor rep. by its Managing Partner vs. Smritikana Ghose and another, 2002(3) CLT 516 (NC)
  • Strike of lawyers as a ground for adjournment – Non-compliance of the principles of natural justice – Held that strike of lawyers should never be ground for adjournment in a Forum under the Act – The Act is meant to provide speedy justice to the consumers – Under sub-section (3) of Section 13 it is specifically provided that no proceedings complying with the procedure laid down in sub-sections (1) and (2) shall be called in question in any court on the ground that the principles of natural justice have not been complied with – If the lawyers do not appear before District Forum or State Commission, it can decide the matter on the basis of the record, if it so chooses. Ram Raksh Pal Gupta and another vs. Ranjana, 2002(2) CLT 193 (NC)
  • Whether the provision prescribing limit for filing reply is mandatory or directory in nature? – Held that the period of extension of time “not exceeding 15 days” does not prescribe any kind of period of limitation – The provision appears to be directory in nature, which the consumer forums are ordinarily supposed to apply, in the proceedings before them – It is an expression of “desirability” in strong terms – But it falls short of creating any kind of substantive right in favour of the complainant by reason of which the respondent may be debarred from placing his version in defence in any circumstances whatsoever – It is for the Forum or the Commission to consider all facts and circumstances alongwith the provisions of the Act providing time frame to file reply, as a guideline, and then to exercise its discretion as best it may serve the ends of justice and achieve the object of speedy disposal of such cases – Keeping in mind principles of natural justice as well – The Forum may refuse to extend time beyond 15 days, in view of Section 13(2)(a) of the Act but exceeding the period of 15 days of extension, would not cause any fatal illegality in the order. Topline Shoes Ltd. vs. Corporation Bank, 2002(3) CLT 35 (SC)
  • 14. Finding of the District Forum. –

    • (1) If, after the proceeding conducted under section 13, the District Forum is satisfied that the goods complained against suffer from any of the defects specified in the complaint or that any of the allegations contained in the complaint about the services are proved, it shall issue an order to the opposite party directing him to [do] one or more of the following things, namely: –

      • (a) to remove the defect pointed out by the appropriate laboratory from the goods in question;
      • (b) to replace the goods with new goods of similar description which shall be free from any defect;
      • (c) to return to the complainant the price, or, as the case may be, the charges paid by the complainant;
      • (d) to pay such amount as may be awarded by it as compensation to the consumer for any loss or injury suffered by the consumer due to the negligence of the opposite party.
  • [Provided that the District Forum shall have the power to grant punitive damages in such circumstances as it deems fit]

    • [(e) to [remove the defects in goods] or deficiencies in the services in question;
    • (f) to discontinue the unfair trade practice or the restrictive trade practice or not to repeat them;
    • (g) not to offer the hazardous goods for sale;
    • (h) to withdraw the hazardous goods from being offered for sale;
    • [(ha) to cease manufacture of hazardous goods and to desist from offering services which are hazardous in nature;
    • (hb) to pay such sum as may be determined by it, if it is of the opinion that loss or injury has been suffered by a large number of consumers who loss or injury has been suffered by a large number of consumers who are not identifiable conveniently:
  • Provided that the minimum amount of sum so payable shall not be less than five percent of the value of such defective goods sold or services provided, as the case may be, to such consumers:
  • Provided further that the amount so obtained shall be credited in favour of such person and utilised in such manner as may be prescribed;

    • (he) to issue corrective advertisement to neutralize the effect of misleading advertisement at the cost of the opposite party responsible for issuing such misleading advertisement;]
    • (i) to provide for adequate costs to parties.]
  • [(2) Every proceeding referred to in sub-section (1) shall be conducted by the President of the District Forum and at least one member thereof sitting together:
    [Provided that where a member, for any reason, is unable to conduct a proceeding till it is completed, the President and then other member shall continue the proceeding from the stage at which it was last heard by the previous member.]
  • (2A) Every order made by the District Forum under sub-section (1) shall be signed by its President and the member or members who conducted the proceeding:
  • Provided that where the proceeding is conducted by the President and one member and they differ on any point or points, they shall state the point or points on which they differ and refer the same to the other member for hearing on such point or points and the opinion of the majority shall be the order of the District Forum.]
  • (3) Subject to the foregoing provisions, the procedure relating to the conduct of the meetings of the District Forum, its sittings and other matters shall be such as may be prescribed by the State Government.
  • COMMENTS
  • Cross examination – Medical negligence – When in the complaint medical negligence is alleged and reputation of the petitioner as a medical practitioner was involved, he should not have been denied the right to cross-examine the witness whose affidavit has been filed. Dr. S.K. Jhunjhunwala vs. Dhanwanti Kumar and another, 2002(3) CLT 27 (NC)
  • Consumer Dispute – Damages – Consumer courts in our country, even Courts in England, have in consumer disputes awarded damages for mental distress, upset, disappointment and injured feelings – But this area is to be approached cautiously. Arun Jain vs. Thai Airways International Ltd., 2002(3) CLT 272 (NC)
  • Housing – Plot pricing – Complaint of the petitioner with regard to calculations relating to pricing of the plot – Held that these cannot be gone into by the Consumer Forums. Purshottam Singh Gupta vs. Vice-President, Moradabad Development Authority, 2002(3) CLT 41 (NC)
  • Housing – Alternative plot price – Non-delivery of possession of plot – Alternative plot offered – Price to be charged – Held that the alternative plot has to be offered at the price at which the original plot was allotted. Haryana Urban Development Authority vs. Meenakshi Goyal, 2002(3) CLT 127 (NC)
  • Housing – Delayed allotment of plot – Interest rate – Rate of interest to be awarded in such cases – Award of interest at the rate of 18% p.a. held reasonable and equitable which would take care of the interest on the amount deposited by the Complainant, escalation in the cost of construction, compensation and harassment and mental agony. Haryana Urban Development Authority vs. Meenakshi Goyal, 2002(3) CLT 127 (NC)
  • Housing – Pricing of flat – Held that the consumer forums cannot go into the question of pricing. Janak Gupta vs. H.P. Housing Board, 2002(3) CLT 300 (NC)
  • Pleadings – Relief – Car – Delivery not given within promised 8 months – Prayer for delivery of car with interest of 24% on deposited amount – District Forum directing refund of amount deposited with interest @18% – Plea by the petitioner OP that relief granted by the Forum was not prayed by the respondent complainant – Held that Forum established under the Act is not a civil court which is to be guided strictly by pleadings – The Forum under the Act is to protect the interest of the consumer and can grant relief on the basis of the facts in the complaint considering the overall circumstances of the case. Maruti Udyog Limited vs. Bhawana Sabharwal and another, 2002(1) CLT 117 (NC)
  • Plot – Earnest money – Refund – Interest – Held that even where there is no provision for payment of interest either expressly or impliedly, interest could be awarded on equitable considerations @ 12% p.a. – Order of the District Forum directing refund of the earnest money with interest @ 10% as affirmed by the State Commission not interfered with. Punjab Urban Development Authority vs. Darshan Singh Sehgal, 2002(1) CLT 526 (NC)
  • 15. Appeal. – Any person aggrieved by an order made by the District Forum may prefer an appeal against such order to the State Commission within a period of thirty days from the date of the order, in such form and manner as may be prescribed:
  • Provided that the State Commission may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not finding it within that period.
  • [Provided further that no appeal by a person, who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order of the District Forum, shall be entertained by the State Commission unless the appellant has deposited in the prescribed manner fifty per cent of that amount or twenty-five thousand rupees whichever is less.]
  • COMMENTS
  • Additional evidence – Held that a Consumer Forum is required to follow the rules of natural justice though it is not bound by the strict rules of Code of Civil Procedure – There is absolutely no bar in the provisions of the Act that any additional evidence cannot be brought on record before the State Commission while hearing appeal. Khivraj Motors vs. V. Chandrababu and another, 2002(1) CLT 524 (NC)
  • Condonation of delay – Appeal against the orders of District Forum awarding a compensation of Rs. 2,50,000/- against petitioner for deficiency in service in maintaining swimming pool resulting in death of son of the respondent dismissed holding that there is no sufficient cause to condone the delay of 173 days in filing appeal – Held that not a fit case to exercise jurisdiction under clause (b) of Section 21 of the Act. The Corporation of the City of belgaum vs. Siddangoudaa Annappagouda Patil and others, 2002(1) CLT 229 (NC)
  • In an appeal parties cannot urge new facts. Sukhdev Chand Mehta vs. New India Assurance Company Ltd., 2002(3) CLT 474 (Pb.)
  • 17. Jurisdiction of the State Commission. –

    • [(1)] Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the State Commission shall have jurisdiction –

      • (a) to entertain –

        • (i) complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed [exceeds rupees twenty lakhs but does not exceed rupees one crore]; and
        • (ii) appeals against the orders of any District Forum within the State; and
      • (b) to call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any District Forum within the Stat, where it appears to the State Commission that such District Forum has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested or has acted in exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.
    • [(2) A complaint shall be instituted in a State Commission within the limits of whose jurisdiction, –

      • (a) the opposite party or each of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain; or
      • (b) any of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain, provided that in such case either the permission of the State Commission is given or the opposite parties who do not reside or carry on business or have a branch office or personally works for gain, as the case may be, acquiesce in such institution; or (c) the cause of action, wholly or in the party, arises.]
  • 17-A. Transfer of cases. – On the application of the complainant or of its own motion, the State Commission may, at any stage of the proceeding, transfer any complaint pending before the District Forum to another District Forum within the State if the interest of justice so requires.
  • 17-B. Circuit Benches. – The State Commission shall ordinarily function in the State capital but may perform its functions at such other place as the State Government may, in consultation with the State Commission, notify in the official Gazette, from time to time.]
  • COMMENTS
  • Jurisdiction – Medical Negligence – Complicated questions of law and facts – State Commission dismissing the complaint on the ground that it involved complicated questions of law and facts – Not the case of such a magnitude as to raise complicated and complex questions of law and facts – In a complaint alleging medical negligence attempt should be made to dispose of the complaint itself rather than relegating the complainant to a Civil Court – Complaint remanded to the State Commission for decision on merit. Satish Bansal vs. Rajeev Gandhi Cancer Institute, 2002(3) CLT 347 (NC)
  • Jurisdiction – Impounding of understamped document – State Commission passing order to send the understamped documents to the District Collector concerned for impounding the same and to realise the deficiency in stamp duty on the plea that it has no machinery to impound the document – The view of the State Commission held to be incorrect and set aside and matter remanded to proceed in accordance with law. Sakuntala Devi Agarwal and others vs. S.P.A. Projection (India) and others, 2002(1) CLT 442 (NC)
  • 18. Procedure applicable to State Commissions. – [The provisions of Sections 12, 13 and 14 and the rules made thereunder] for the disposal of complaints by the District Forum shall, with such modifications as may be necessary, be applicable to the disposal of disputes by the State Commission.
  • 19. Appeals. – Any person aggrieved by an order made by the State Commission in exercise of its powers conferred by sub-clause (i) of clause (a) of section 17 may prefer an appeal against such order to the National Commission within a period of thirty, days from the date of the order in such form and manner as may be prescribed:
  • Provided that the National Commission may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period.
  • [Provided further that no appeal by a person, who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order of the State Commission, shall be entertained by the National Commission unless the appellant has deposited in the prescribed manner fifty per cent of the amount or rupees thirty-five thousand, whichever is less.]
  • [19-A. Hearing of appeal. – An appeal filed before the State Commission or the National Commission shall be heard as expeditiously as possible and an endeavour shall be made to finally dispose of the appeal within a period of ninety days from the date of its admission:
  • Provided that no adjournment shall be ordinarily granted by the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, unless sufficient cause is shown and the reasons for grant of adjournment have been recorded in writing by such commission:
  • Provided further that the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, shall make such orders as to costs occasicned by the adjournment as may be provided in the regulations made under this Act:
  • Provided also that in the event of an appeal being disposed of after the period so specified, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, shall record in writing the reasons for the same at the time of disposing of the said appeal.]
  • 21. Jurisdiction of the National Commission. – Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the National Commission shall have jurisdiction –

    • (a) to entertain –

      • (i) complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds [rupees one crore]; and
      • (ii) appeals against the orders of any State Commission; and
    • (b) to call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any State Commission where it appears to the National Commission that such State Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.
  • COMMENTS
  • Complaint dismissed by the National Commission as complainant unable to inform about the outcome of the decision of the foreign Court about the dispute – Plea of the appellant before the apex Court that requisite information could not placed before the National Commission due to communication gap between the appellant and the counsel and information presently available on record – The case not considered on merits by the Commission and it is also not stated in the order how the information regarding outcome of the decision of the foreign court is relevant – The matter remitted to the National Commission to be decided on merits and the appellant shall pay a sum of Rs. 5,000/- as costs to the respondent. Prestige HM-Polycontainers Ltd. vs. American President Lines Ltd. and another, 2002(1) CLT 119 (SC)
  • Complicated questions of law and facts – Insurance claim – Contamination of Acrlyonitrile due to leakage of some other article in other tanker in the vessel – As many as 125 documents filed to support the case – The case requires recording of voluminous evidence – It will take considerable time to deal with, which in summary jurisdiction this Commission may not be able to do – Complaint returned to the complainant to seek its remedy before Civil Court. Indian Acrylics Ltd. vs. F.E. Hardcastle & Co. Pvt. Ltd. and others, 2002(1) CLT 531 (NC)
  • Complaint – Complex questions of law and fact – Insurance claim – Allegation of undue delay on the part of OP in not settling the claim – Along with the complaint there are as many as 125 documents – Evidence will have to be led and the provisions of SEBI Act and framed thereunder will have to be examined – Complaint does raise complex questions of law and facts for which presently National Commission not equipped to deal with such type of cases – Complaint returned to be presented before the appropriate Forum. M/s. Integra Securities Ltd. vs. The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. and another, 2002(2) CLT 241 (NC)
  • Complex question of law and facts – The National Commission has to decide matters in summary jurisdiction – It is not an appropriate forum to decide cases involving complex question both of law and facts – Such type of cases require a great deal of time which this Commission can ill afford – Held that the present complaint of such a nature, the complainant relegated to get redressal of his remedy in a civil court. Franco Footwear Factory vs. State Bank of Patiala, 2002(2) CLT (NC)
  • Insurance claim – Goods sent on CIF contract but did not reach consignee and believed to have been stolen or lost in transit – The consignee was not in possession of any documents of title – The letter written by consignee showed that they had not paid the value of the missing merchandise – Held that insurable interest over the goods continued to be with the respondent and he paid the insurance premium in Indian Currency and continued to have title over the goods as it never passed to the consignee – The respondent held not entitled to receive payment in Pounds Sterling – Direction of the National Commission to pay the amount in Pounds Sterling set aside and held that the respondent is entitled to get the amount with interest @ 18% from the date on which it preferred the claim petition the appellant till payment. National Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. Sky Gems, 2002(1) CLT 280 (SC)
  • Insurance claim – Repudiation – Claim totalling about Rs. 1 crore – Contention of OP that it has already paid the complainant a sum of Rs. 4,35,246/- in complete satisfaction of its insurance claim – Arbitration clause also existed – Numerous documents are on record – It would be difficult to decide such a matter on the basis of the affidavits – It would require cross-examination of both the parties – Such type of complaint cannot be decided in summary jurisdiction where the Commission is expected to decide a matter within 90 days – Complaint returned to the complainant to seek its remedy before Civil Court or any other Forum permitted by law. A.V. Cottex Ltd. vs. The National Insurance Company Ltd., 2002(1) CLT 503 (NC)
  • Insurance Claim – Revisional jurisdiction – Plea of the petitioner-Insurance Company for reappreciation of the evidence repelled – Reappreciation of the evidence cannot be done in a revision – No jurisdictional error or any illegal exercise of jurisdiction by the Fora below pointed out – Revision Petition held to be misconceived and not maintainable. New India Assurance Co. Ltd. vs. Ghanshyamdas Gupta, 2002(2) CLT 74 (NC)
  • Insurance Act, 1938, Section 64-UM – Insurance claim – Correctness of the estimate of loss made by the surveyor disputed by the insurance under proviso to Section 64-UM of the Insurance Act but State Commission directed the Insurance Company to pay the amount as estimated by the Surveyor – In first appeal National Commission not considering the aforesaid question raised on behalf of the appellant – Case remitted to the National Commission for fresh disposal in accordance with law. National Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. Dinesh, 2002(2) CLT 169 (SC)
  • Jurisdiction – Complicated questions of facts – Insurance claim – Allegation of forgery made by the complainant – Denied by the Insurance Company – Complaint raises complicated questions of facts which cannot be decided by the Commission in its summary jurisdiction – Complaint liable to be dismissed – Complainant at liberty to approach the Civil Court or any other appropriate forum for the relief claimed. R.D. Papers Ltd. through its Managing Director vs. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., through General Manager and others, 2002(3) CLT 99 (NC)
  • Jurisdiction – Complex question of law – Banking service – Deficiency in service alleged – Facts of the case showing that such a case would require voluminous evidence – Considering the complex question of law it is not possible for the Commission to decide in its summary jurisdiction – Petition liable to be dismissed – Complainant at liberty to approach the Civil Court or any other forum. Doon Valley Rice Ltd., Karnal vs. State Bank of India, Karnal, 2002(3) CLT 108 (NC)
  • Medical negligence – Allegation that respondent administered ampicillin despite the fact that he knew that the wife of the complainant was allergic to penicillin – Two medical doctors examined by the complainant in support his case stated that treatment given was proper in the circumstances of the case – Concurrent findings of fact by the Fora’s below that is no negligence – not find it a fit case to exercise jurisdiction under Section 21(b) of the Act. Kashiram Bhimarao Kamble vs. Uday A. Paul and another, 2002(2) CLT 258 (NC)
  • Revision – Limitation – Held that the Act does not provide for any limitation for revision – Revision should ordinarily be filed within a period of 90 days otherwise it is likely to be dismissed on the ground of latches. Kerala Consumer Protection Centre vs. District Executive Officer, 2002(1) CLT 486 (NC)
  • Revisional jurisdiction – Petitioner taking a plea which is not shown to be taken in the grounds of appeal before the State Commission – Also non-filing of letter of subrogation – Held to be not a fit case to exercise jurisdiction under clause (b) of Section 21 of the Act – Revision petition dismissed. Jagjit Oil Tankers vs. National Insurance Co. and another, 2002(2) CLT 103 (NC)
  • Revision – Dismissed in default – Restoration – On the date of hearing petitioner was busy in the District Court at Gujarat – No explanation as to why he took more than 3-1/2 months the move the application for restoration – On the second date again he requested for adjournment as he was busy in the Court at Delhi – In the Consumer adjournment cannot be granted as a matter of course – The matter is to be decided within a certain time schedule – The present case held to be not a fit case to restore the revision petition – Application for restoration liable to be dismissed. Goel S. Pal vs. Central Bank of India, 2002(2) CLT 296 (NC)
  • Revision – Limitation Law lays down time for filing appeal – No time limit is prescribed for filing Revision Petition – The Commission has generally set a limit of ninety days for entertaining a Revision. Dorothy Pearson vs. Vilbur Frederick Souza Ticlo, 2002(3) CLT 301 (NC)
  • Revision petition – Suo moto notice – Electricity connection – Delay of four years in shifting from one tube well to another – Compensation of Rs. 1000/- awarded by the District Forum – Cost of Rs. 2500/- by the State Commission awarded and also bill of Rs. 7250/- as cost of quashed – Revision by the OP petitioner against the order of State Commission – Award of Rs. 1000/- as compensation prima facie found grossly inadequate – Both the District Forum and State Commission held to have failed to exercise their proper jurisdiction vested by them in law – Suo moto notice issued to the petitioner as to why the amount of compensation be not enhanced up to Rs. 50,000/-. Jaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd. vs. Ram Khiladi, 2002(3) CLT 410 (NC)
  • Summary jurisdiction – Complex question of law and fact – Claim for damages amounting to Rs. 44 crores – A great deal of evidence required both oral and documentary to prove such a huge loss claimed by the complainant – Interpretation of agreement for the supply of electrical energy at high voltage will have to be gone into – Held that such case cannot be decided in summary jurisdiction – Complaint dismissed with the liberty to the complainant to approach Civil Court or any other forum for reliefs claimed. Jaya Shree Insulators vs. West Bengal State Electricity Board, 2002(3) CLT 489 (NC)
  • [22. Power and procedure applicable to the National Commission. –

    • (1) The provisions of Sections 12, 13 and 14 and the rules made thereunder for the disposal of complaints by the District Forum shall, with such modifications as may be considered necessary by the Commission, be applicable to the disposal of disputes by the National Commission.
    • (2) Without prejudice to the provisions contained in sub-section (1), the National Commission shall have the power to review any order made by it, when there is an error apparent on the face of record.
  • 22-A. Power to set aside ex parte orders. – Where an order is passed by the National Commission ex parte against the opposite party or a complainant, as the case may be, the aggrieved party may apply to the commission to set aside the said order in the interest of justice.
  • 22-B. Transfer of cases. – On the application of the complainant or of its own motion, the National Commission may, at any stage of the proceeding, in the interest of justice, transfer any complaint pending before the District Forum of one State to a District Forum of another State or before one State Commission to another State Commission.
  • 22-C. Circuit Benches. – The National Commission shall ordinarily function at New Delhi and perform its functions at such other place as the Central Government may, in consultation with the National Commission, notify in the official gazette from time to time.
  • 23. Appeal. – Any person, aggrieved by an order made by the National Commission in exercise of its powers conferred by sub-clause (i) of clause (a) of section 21, may prefer an appeal against such order of the Supreme Court within a period of thirty days from the date of the order.

    • Provided that the Supreme Court may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period.
    • [Provided further that no appeal by a person who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order of the National Commission shall be entertained by the Supreme Court unless that person has deposited in the prescribed manner fifty per cent of that amount or rupees fifty thousand, whichever is less.]
  • 24. Finality of orders. – Every order of a District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission shall, if no appeal has been preferred against such order under the provisions of this Act, be final.
  • [24-A. Limitation period. –

    • (1) The District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission shall not admit a complaint unless it is filed within two years from the date on which the cause of action has arisen.
    • (2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), a complaint may be entertained after the period specified in sub-section (1), if the complaint satisfies the District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, that he had sufficient cause for not filing the complaint within such period:

      • Provided that no such complaint shall be entertained unless the National Commission, the State Commission or the District Forum, as the case may be, records its reasons for condoning such delay.
  • [25. Enforcement of orders of the District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission. –

    • (1) Where an interim order made under this Act is not complied with, the District Forum or the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, may order the property of the person, not complying with such order to be attached.
    • (2) No attachment made under sub-section (1) shall remain in force for more than three months at the end of which, if the non-compliance continues, the property attached may be sold and out of the proceeds thereof, the District Forum or the State Commission or the National Commission may award such damages as it thinks fit to the complainant and shall pay the balance, if any, to the party entitled thereto.
    • (3) Where any amount is due from any person under an order made by a District Forum, State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, the person entitled to the amount may make an application to the District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, and such District Forum or the State Commission or the National commission may issue a certificate for the said amount to the Collector of the district (by whatever name called) and the Collector shall proceed to recover the amount in the same manner as arrears of land revenue.]
  • [26. Dismissal of frivolous or vexatious complaints. – Where a complaint instituted before the District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, is found to be frivolous or vexatious, it shall, for reasons to be recorded in writing, dismiss the complaint and make an order that the complainant shall pay to the opposite party such cost, not exceeding ten thousand rupees, as may be specified in the order.]
  • COMMENTS
  • Consumer Protection Act, 1986, Sections 26 and 21 – Frivolous complaint – Costs Insurance claim of Rs. 2.82 lakhs repudiated by the OP on 10.3.2000 – Complaint filed on 13.2.2002 before the National Commission for claim of Rs. 80.83 lakhs – The complaint held to be clearly an abuse of the process of the Consumer Protection Act – The complaint dismissed with costs assessed at Rs. 10,000/-. Archana Strips Pvt. Ltd. vs. The Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. and others, 2002(3) CLT 483 (NC)
  • 27. Penalties. –

    • [(1)] Where a trader or a person against whom a complaint is made [or the complaint] fails or omits to comply with any order made by the District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, such trader or person [or complainant shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one month but which may extend to three years, or with fine which shall not be less than two thousands rupees but which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both:
    • [(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), the District Forum or the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, shall have the power of a Judicial Magistrate of the first class for the trial of offences under this Act, and on such conferment of powers, the District Forum or the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, on whom the powers are so conferred, shall be deemed to be a judicial Magistrate of the first class for the purpose of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).
    • (3) All offences under this Act may be tried summarily by the District Forum or the State Commission, as the case may be.]
  • 27-A. Appeal against order passed under Section 27. –

    • (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), an appeal under section 27, both on facts and on law, shall lie from –

      • (a) the order made by the District Forum to the State Commission;