proceedings before dcdrc President

State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Uttarakhand: While considering the instant appeal wherein the impugned order was decided by the Members of the DCDRC and the President of the District Consumer Commission was not part of the proceedings; the Bench of D.S. Tripathi, J. (President)* and B.S. Manral (Member) stated that Section 36 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 makes it amply clear that in every proceeding before the DCDRC, the presence of President of the District Commission is must and the Members sitting together are not authorised to undertake the proceedings filed before the District Commission and decide the same.

Respondent took admission in B.S.M. College of Law, Roorkee which was affiliated to Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University. The respondent took admission in LL.B. three years’ regular course for the academic session 2015-18 and deposited required fees. The course was a six-semester course. The complainant regularly attended the College and appeared in all the semester examinations.

The result of the final semester was declared on 29-10-2018 on the official website of the University. The respondent discovered that he had failed in Interpretation of Statutes and Principles of Legislation and was asked to appear in compartment examination. Alleging that there had been gross error on the part of the University in awarding grade point to the respondent which had caused him mental agony, a consumer complaint was filed by the respondent before the District Commission.

The Members of the DCDRC upon perusing the complaint had directed the appellant to pay compensation of Rs. 50,000 to respondent and not to appoint the errant examiner in future for examining answer book of any student.

Aggrieved by the decision of the DCDRC, the appellant knocked the doors of the State Commission. Contentions by Appellant: The appellant contended that Section 36(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 provides that every proceeding before the District Commission shall be conducted by the President of that Commission and at least one member thereof, sitting together. Hence, the impugned judgment and order is non-est in the eyes of law.

It was further contended that the respondent is the son of the then President of the District Commission, and who on the date of passing of the impugned order, was holding the said post, hence the Members of the District Commission should not have proceeded with the proceedings of the consumer complaint.

Assessment: Examining the facts and contentions, the State Commission found substance in the contentions raised by the appellant.

The State Commission pointed out that the President of the District Commission was not part of the proceedings before the District Commission and the consumer complaint was decided by the Members of the District Commission, which was in complete disregard of Section 36(1) of Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

The State Commission opined that due to the afore-stated disregard, the impugned order passed by the DCDRC cannot be legally sustained and is liable to be set aside and therefore is null.

With the afore-stated reason, the State Commission allowed the appeal and remanded the consumer complaint back the DCDRC for a decision based on merits.

[Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University v. Sudhanshu Sain, FIRST APPEAL NO. 20 / 2022, decided on 22-11-2023]

*Order by Justice D.S. Tripathi, President

Advocates who appeared in this case :

Chitradeep Rana, Counsel for the Appellant

None for Respondents

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