The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India has in its recent judgement in the case of Ibra tFaizan Versus Omaxe Buildhome Private Limited held that the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission ("NCDRC") at New Delhi is a Tribunal within the meaning of Article 227 of the Constitution of India. It clarified therefore, that a Writ Petition under Article 227 can be preferred against an order of the NCDRC before the concerned High Court as an alternative remedy instead of approaching the Hon'ble Supreme Court under Article 136 by way of Special Leave Petitions. The objective of this article is to briefly examine and summarise the scope of these findings.
The Consumer Protection Act 1986 ("CPA 1986") was repealed by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 ("CPA 2019"). The CPA 2019, inter alia, embodied the objects of the former Act but also recognised the changing times, the development of e-commerce and the deficiencies of the 1986 Act in adequately coping with the needs and grievances of the consumers and sought to address the same. The 2019 Act, like the 1986 Act provides for the establishment of quasi-judicial authorities in the form of District Commissions, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions and the NCDRC which shall ordinarily function at the National Capital Region.
Appeals Under The Consumer Protection Act
The NCDRC has the power to hear appeals with respect to orders of the State Commission passed in exercise of its original jurisdiction. The NCDRC also exercises original jurisdiction with respect to complaints where the pecuniary value of the complaint exceeds Rs. 10 crores, in terms of Section 58(1)(a)(i) of the CPA 2019. It can also hear matters under Section 58(2)(b) wherein it can call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any State Commission where it appears to it that such State Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity. The jurisdiction of the NCDRC therefore classifies petitions into: (i.) Consumer Complaints (ii.) First Appeals (iii.) Revision Petitions apart from (iv.) Transfer Petitions under Section 62 of the CPA 2019. Section 67 of the CPA 2019 provides that appeals could be preferred against orders of the NCDRC, passed in exercise of its original jurisdiction, to the Hon'ble Supreme Court within 30 days from the date of the order.
Special Leave Petitions under Article 136 of the Constitution of India were the usual recourse available to parties aggrieved by orders passed by the NCDRC except where orders were passed in exercise of the original jurisdiction of the NCDRC in which case Civil Appeals would lie under Section 67. However, the Hon'ble Supreme Court has now clarified in the Ibrat Faizan judgement that an aggrieved party may prefer a Writ Petition under Article 227 before the concerned High Court.
The CPA 2019 provides the right to appeal to the NCDRC from orders of the State Commission. However, with the exception of Section 67 of the CPA 2019, no further appeals can be filed against the orders of the NCDRC and earlier, the only remedy available was to approach the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India by way of a Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.
Ibrat Faizan Versus Omaxe Buildhome Private Limited
The Hon'ble Supreme Court in the Ibrat Faizan case has held, inter alia, relying on its own judgements in the cases of Associated Cement Companies Limited v. P.N. Sharma and its subsequent judgement in the case of L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India, that the NCDRC can be said to be a 'Tribunal' which is vested by statute with the powers to determine conclusively the rights of two or more contending parties with regard to any matter in controversy between them. Therefore, the NCDRC was held to satisfy the test of being an authority vested with the judicial powers of the State and therefore may be regarded as a 'Tribunal' within the meaning of Article 227 and/or 136 of the Constitution of India. The Hon'ble Supreme Court held that a Writ Petition under Article 227 would lie against an order passed by the NCDRC in an appeal under Section 58(1)(a)(iii) of the 2019 Act which provides that the NCDRC shall have jurisdiction to entertain appeals against the orders of any State Commission. Therefore, any party aggrieved by an order of the NCDRC in a first appeal or a revision petition arising from a challenge to an order passed by a State Commission can resort to filing a Writ Petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India before the concerned High Court challenging the order of the NCDRC.
Scope Under Article 227
The Hon'ble High Court of Delhi has recently held in the case of Shri Mukesh Kumar vs. Smt Kamlesh Devi & Anr. that the scope of the powers of the High Court under Article 227 are different from those under Article 226 and limited to only the correction of jurisdictional errors or cases where a view taken by the Court or Tribunal is perverse, in the sense that no reasonable Court could have taken the same view. The Hon'ble Supreme Court of India has summarised the scope of the powers of the High Court under Article 227 in the case of Shalini Shyam Shetty v. Rajendra Shankar Patil, Estralla Rubber v. Dass Estate (P) Ltd., Celina Coelho Pereira v. Ulhas Mahabaleshwar Kholkar, which has been consistently followed as recently as in the case of Garment Craft v. Prakash Chand Goel. It has been held that the High Court in exercising its supervisory jurisdiction does not act as a Court of first appeal to reappreciate, reweigh the evidence or facts upon which the determination under challenge is based. Supervisory jurisdiction is not intended to correct every error of fact or even a legal flaw when the final finding is justified or can be supported. The Hon'ble Supreme Court also held in the Ibrat Faizan case that even while considering the grant of interim stay/relief in a writ petition under Article 227 of the Constitution of India, the High Court has to bear in mind the limited jurisdiction of superintendence under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.
Concerned High Court
Article 227(1) of the Constitution of India provides that every High Court shall have superintendence over all Courts and "Tribunals" throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction.
With respect to the judgement of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the Ibrat Faizan case, it does not suggest that since the NCDRC is situated at New Delhi, the High Court of Delhi would be Court of appropriate territorial jurisdiction to hear a petition under Article 227. In fact, the Hon'ble Supreme Court itself has clarified in the said judgement that the petition would lie before the "concerned High Court".
The Hon'ble Supreme Court has held in the case of Ambica Industries v. CCE, which was followed recently by the judgement in the case of CalcuttaGujarati Education Society v. Provident Fund Commr that "there cannot be any doubt whatsoever that in terms of Article 227 of the Constitution of India as also clause (2) of Article 226 thereof, the High Court would exercise its discretionary jurisdiction as also power to issue writ of certiorari in respect of the orders passed by the subordinate courts within its territorial jurisdiction or if any cause of action has arisen therewithin but the same tests cannot be applied when the appellate court exercises a jurisdiction over a tribunal situated in more than one State. In such a situation, in our opinion, the High Court situated in the State where the first court is located should be considered to be the appropriate appellate authority."
It would therefore follow that the High Court of the State in which the proceedings before the State Commission were conducted would be the High Court where the petition under Article 227 would lie.
The Consumer Protection Act is a welfare legislation enacted to provide aggrieved consumers with an alternate, speedy and relatively affordable mechanism to have their grievances redressed. The myriad disputes which arise before the Consumer Commissions range, inter alia, from cases of medical negligence, insurance claims, claims of home buyers to cases relating to the purchase of vehicles or smaller goods or services as well. It is bearing in mind the fact that the common consumer may not be able to afford to approach the Hon'ble Supreme Court after his or her case is disposed off by the NCDRC that the Hon'ble Supreme Court has provided an alternate relief of approaching the High Court under Article 227 and it is hoped that with this remedy, consumers will not have to approach the Supreme Court to seek justice.
The author is an Advocate On Record at the Supreme Court Of India.Views are personal.
 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 481 Civil Appeal No. 3072 of 2022 delivered on 13.05.2022
 Supra n.1
 AIR 1965 SC 1595 (paras 44 & 45),
 (1997) 3 SCC 261
 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 156
 (2010) 8 SCC 329
 (2001) 8 SCC 97
 (2010) 1 SCC 217
 (2022) 4 SCC 181
 Supra n.1
 Supra n.1
 (2007) 6 SCC 769
 (2020) 19 SCC 380