Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): The Bench comprising of Justice R.K. Agrawal (President) and M. Shreesha (Member) while addressing a complaint with respect to “deficiency of services” by the developer granted compensation keeping in view of the “Principles of Natural Justice”.

In the present case, aggrieved preferred the first appeal against the order passed by the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Mumbai under Section 19 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Complainant stated that there was a deficiency of service against the Developer since an amount of Rs 37, 00,000 was paid towards sale consideration for Flat No. 601 situated at Vijaya and on account of non-providing of certain amenities the Complainant cancelled the booking and sought for a refund of the amount paid. Despite the complainant having requested for interest several times as the Developer had retained her amount from 14-05-2010 till 31-01-2011, there was no response.

State Commission allowed the complainant in part with the aforenoted directions.

According to the respondent’s, though the ‘developer’ had offered the payment of the amount, the complainant refused the same as her stand was that since the ‘developer’ had taken the money, the ‘developer’ alone should come to her doorstep and handover the money. Though, the Complainant stated that the amount was never offered to her.

Appellant submitted that some amount of compensation was to be awarded to meet the ends of justice as the compensation amount awarded by the State Commission was paid subsequently after 5 years.

Reliance was placed on Ghaziabad Development Authority v. Balbir Singh, (2004) 5 SCC 65, wherein the Court discussed the grounds on which the compensation be awarded in matters of delayed possession.

In the present matter, interest @18% has been awarded by the State Commission. The fact that the respondents did not challenge the impugned order, but also complied with the order only after 4 years, the order dated 12-05-2012 and as per the submission of the appellant/complainant the cheque was handed over on 3-05-2016.

Thus, keeping in view the “Principles of Natural Justice”, Commission awarded Rs 75,000 towards compensation within 4 weeks. The appeal is allowed in part with aforenoted directions. [Leela Narasimhan v. Vijay Grihanirman (P) Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine NCDRC 328, decided on 16-10-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): A Division Member Bench of Anup K Thakur, C. Viswanath, Members, dismissed a complaint filed against the opposite party for claiming compensation for alleged deficiency of services.

The main issue that arose before the Commission was whether the opposite party was liable for deficiency of services under the provisions of Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The Commission observed that the complainant had intimated the opposite party about the breakdown of its machinery a month after it actually broke down. Further, the complainant was regularly communicating with the opposite party but even then it did not provide any information to the opposite party via email or telegram about the break down of machinery and this omission on the part of the complainant was a violation of one of the provisions of the insurance policy. The Commission also observed that soon after taking Machinery Breakdown and Machinery Loss of Profits Policies, the machinery of the complainant broke down. Complainant’s omission to disclose that the machinery was giving trouble prior to the complainant taking insurance policy, is an active concealment on its part. Further, the complainant had dismantled the machinery before it was examined by the surveyor and it also made an excuse about the logbooks gone missing.

The Commission held that the composite result of all the actions on the part of the complainant clearly suggests that the complainant had deliberately concealed some vital facts from the opposite party and hence it cannot be allowed to derive benefits of an insurance policy obtained by concealment of such important facts. Resultantly, the complaint was dismissed by the commission holding the opposite party not liable for deficiency of services under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. [Amrit Environmental Technologies (P) Ltd. v. Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Co. Ltd.,2018 SCC OnLine NCDRC 381, order dated 09-10-2018]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): A Division Member Bench of Anup K Thakur, C. Viswanath, Members, dismissed a complaint at the stage of maintainability, which was filed for claiming deficiency of services on the part of the opposite party.

The complainant had booked a residential apartment in one of the projects of the opposite party and the complainant had paid almost the entire cost of the prospective flat in installments. The opposite party failed to construct the flat and hence the complainant alleged deficiency in services on the part of opposite party.

The main issue that arose before the Commission was whether the complaint was maintainable before the Commission.

The Commission observed that as per Section 21(a)(i) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the Commission shall have jurisdiction to entertain consumer complaints wherein the sum of goods and services along with compensation claimed by the complainant exceeds Rs. 1,00,00,000/-. In the present case, the total cost of flat along-with interest claimed by the complainant was below the mark of Rs. 1,00,00,000/-. However, the complainant had claimed an amount of Rs. 45,00,000/- for mental agony, which was almost at par with the cost of the flat itself.

The Commission held that the amount of compensation claimed by the complainant for mental agony suffered is highly unreasonable and in the absence of the same, the cost of the flat along with the interest does not cross the mark of Rs. 1,00,00,000/- and hence this case does not come under the jurisdiction of the Commission. Resultantly the complaint filed by the complainant was dismissed. [Aanchal Garg v.  Amahagun India (P) Ltd., 2018 SCC OnLine NCDRC 379, order dated- 09-08-2018]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): A Division Bench of S.M. Kantikar, Presiding Member and Dinesh Singh, Member, dismissed an appeal with costs filed against the order of State Commission whereby his claim for deficiency of services, against the respondents, was rejected.

The appellant had purchased a postpaid internet connection from the respondent company for a sum of Rs 5500. As per the appellant’s story, the internet connection was activated and he used the internet services for a period of 2 days after which the services were discontinued by the respondent company without any intimation. However, refuting the claim of the appellant, the respondent asserted that in the absence of a valid proof of residence, the internet services were never activated for the appellant.

The main question that arose before the Commission was whether the respondent company was liable for deficiency in services under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The Commission observed that the appellant had purchased the connection for Rs 5500 and the amount claimed by him in the form of compensation was highly disproportionate i.e. Rs 99,95,500. Further, the Commission observed that the appellant had previously filed a similar complaint against Tata Teleservices Ltd. which was found to be frivolous and vexatious, for which a cost of Rs 10,000 was imposed on the appellant. The Court observed that the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is not meant to be a tool to attempt wrong gains or to create ‘nuisance value’.

The Commission held that the appellant had filed a frivolous case against the respondent company and that he was attempting to misuse the statutory processes provided for better protection of the interest of consumers to attempt wrong gains and to create ‘nuisance value’. Hence, the Commission dismissed the appeal and a cost of Rs 500 was imposed on the appellant for filing a frivolous case and abusing the process of law. [Uttamkumar Samanta v. Vodafone East Ltd., First Appeal No. 847 of 2017, order dated 05-08-2018]