The definition of 'consumer' includes 'consumers'; a joint complaint by many consumers is not required to be filed in representative capacity: Supreme Court

Team SoOLEGAL 31 May 2023 5:21pm

The definition of 'consumer' includes 'consumers'; a joint complaint by many consumers is not required to be filed in representative capacity: Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court ruled that when a few consumers with similar interests seeking similar relief file a joint complaint without any larger public interest involved, the complaint does not need to be filed in a representative capacity as required by Section 13(6) of the Consumer Protection Act.

In the case at hand, an association of flat allottees filed a complaint with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission against the constructor of a housing project due to the project's delay in completion. Individual affidavits were also filed by the allottees before the Commission. The Court observed, while upholding the right of many complainants with identical interests to bring a single case, that a pedantic and hyper-technical approach would cause damage to the very concept of consumerism”.

A division bench of Justices J K Maheshwari and M M Sundresh observed that “the need for the application of Order I Rule 8 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (hereinafter referred to as “CPC”), which speaks of a plaintiff representing the other public as a whole would be required only in a case involving a complaint under Section 12(1)(c) of the 1986 Act. In other word it does not have any application when similarly placed complainants jointly make a complaint seeking the very same relief. In such a case, there is no question of Order I Rule 8 CPC being complied with as they do not represent the others, particularly when there is no larger public interest involved. Such complainants seek reliefs for themselves and nothing beyond.”

The builder has challenged the registration of the allottees association before the District Registrar of Societies on the grounds that its bye-laws did not comply with the Haryana Registration and Regulation of Societies Act, 2012 (HRRS Act). The builder thereafter contended before the Supreme Court that the association's complaint was not maintainable since the association was not registered.

However, the Court determined that Section 2(1) (b) (i) (Definition of Complainant) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 Act can be read to encompass several "consumers."

"Upon a conjoint reading of the aforesaid provisions, Section 2(1)(b)(i) of the 1986 Act would be interpreted to mean “consumers, the court observed.

The Court also noted that because individual affidavits were filed, the complaint would fall under Section 12(1)(a) of the 1986 Act (Manner in which complaint shall be made by a consumer) and that there was no need to address whether the case would fall under Section 12(1)(b) of the 1986 Act (Manner in which complaint shall be made by a consumer association).

In this regard, the judgement in Brigade Enterprises Ltd. v. Anil Kumar Virmani (CA 1799/2021) was cited, which concluded that consumers with comparable interests can file a joint complaint and do not need to file in a representative capacity. It was also mentioned that the recent decision National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Harsolia Motors and Ors advised against using a technical approach in interpreting the Consumer Protection Act.

Tagged: Consumer   Supreme Court  
Did you find this write up useful? YES 0 NO 0
Karen   29 Jun 2023 7:36pm
For the past 3 months now I have been looking for good and genuine spell to bring back my ex lover back and also help me to win lottery. and it has been read more

C2RMTo Know More

Something Awesome Is In The Work









Sign-up and we will notify you of our launch.
We’ll also give some discount for your effort :)

* We won’t use your email for spam, just to notify you of our launch.

SAARTHTo Know More

Launching Soon : SAARTH, your complete client, case, practise & document management SAAS application with direct client chat feature.

If you want to know more give us a Call at :+91 98109 29455 or Mail