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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]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): A Division Bench of Dr S.M. Kantikar and Dinesh Singh, Members, dismissed a revision petition filed against the order of the State Commission.

The petitioners, in this case, had purchased a car in the name of their company Harmony Colonizers (P) Ltd. from respondent and it suddenly stopped one day after 4 years of its purchase. Thereafter, respondent charged a sum of Rs 3,95,190 as repair charges, which were paid by the petitioner under protest. The petitioner then filed a complaint before the District Forum, claiming deficiency of services on the part of respondent and the same was allowed. The State Commission reversed the order of the district forum on the ground that complainants do not fit into the definition of consumer for the purpose of Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The main issue that arose for consideration was whether the petitioners fall under the definition of consumer for the purpose of Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The Commission observed that as stated by the State Commission, the petitioner failed to provide cogent evidence to prove that the car was purchased for their personal use. It further observed that in order to interfere with State Commission’s order there must be a jurisdictional error, or grave error in appreciating the evidence, or ignorance of a legal or miscarriage of justice. None of the elements were present in the instant case.

The Commission held that the petitioners were not consumers under the Act and were attempting to misuse the statutory processes provided for better protection of the interest of consumers to obtain wrong gains and to create ‘nuisance value’ qua the respondents. It was further held that the petition filed was frivolous and vexatious and hence it was dismissed with costs of Rs 25,000 imposed on petitioners for filing a frivolous petition.[Suresh Singla v. Jaycee Automobiles (P) Ltd.,2018 SCC OnLine NCDRC 375, order dated 23-08-2018]