Jurisdiction of consumer forum is not ousted even if the other party has filed suit on the same matter in Civil Court

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: The grievance of the petitioner in a recent case before the Commission was that appellants/complainants had entered into agreements with the respondents for purchase of residential flats, which the respondents were to construct and despite paying the substantial amount to the respondents, the construction of the flats had not been completed. The State Commission dismissed the complaints and ruled in favor of respondents against which the appellants approached the National Commission.

To decide on the issue, the Commission examined and explained the relevance of Section 3 of the Consumer Protection Act which provides that the provisions of the Act shall be in addition and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law for the time being in force. Therefore, the remedy under the Act is an additional remedy available to the consumer. The Commission presided by V.K. Jain, J. observed that in the instant case, respondents had entered into agreements with the complainants/appellants, agreeing to construct flats for them and give possession of the said flats and therefore they have a relationship of consumer and service provider and this relationship would not come to an end with just one party canceling the agreement.

The Commission further said that if there is deficiency on the part of the respondents in rendering services to consumers and the same is proved, the complainants/appellants would be entitled to appropriate relief in terms of the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act. In this case, remedy was initiated before the civil court by respondents and not the complainants and therefore, the jurisdiction of civil court is not at all ousted.  [Yashwant Rama Jadhav v. Shaukat Hussain Shaikh, First Appeal No. 1229 of 2017, decided on 18.11.2017]

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