The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has held that a complaint under Section 12 (1)(c) of the Consumer Protection (CP) Act can be filed only on behalf of or for the benefit of all the consumers, having a common interest or a common grievance and seeking the same/identical relief against the same person.
It has also been made clear that in a class action suit (complaint) instituted under Section 12(1) (c) of the Consumer Protection Act, the pecuniary jurisdiction is to be determined on the basis of aggregate of the value of the goods purchased or the services hired or availed by all the consumers on whose behalf or for whose benefit the complaint is instituted and the total compensation claimed in respect of such consumers.
Answering a reference to it, the full bench comprising NCDRC president D.K. Jain, members V.K. Jain and B.C. Gupta made the following observations:
The bench also observed that exercise due care and caution while considering such a complaint even at the initial stage and to grant the requisite permission, only where the complaint fulfils all the requisite conditions in terms of Section 12(1) (c) of the Consumer Protection Act read with Order I Rule 8 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
“It would also be necessary for the bench to either give individual notices or an adequate public notice of the institution of the complaint to all the persons on whose behalf or for whose benefit the complaint is instituted. Such a notice should disclose interalia (i) the subject matter of the complaint including the particulars of the project if the complaint relates to a housing project / scheme, (ii) the class of persons on whose behalf or for whose benefit the complaint is filed, (iii) the common grievance sought to get redressed through the class action, (iv) the alleged deficiency in the services and (v) the reliefs claimed in the complaint,” the bench added.
Read the order here.