Complex Events Requiring Substantial Evidence And Witnesses Cannot Be Solved By Summary Proceedings, Ambala District Commission Dismisses Complaint

Smita Singh

17 April 2024 2:30 PM GMT

  • Complex Events Requiring Substantial Evidence And Witnesses Cannot Be Solved By Summary Proceedings, Ambala District Commission Dismisses Complaint

    The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Ambala (Haryana) bench comprising Smt. Neetu Sandhu (President), Ruby Sharma (Member) and Vinod Kumar Sharma (Member) dismissed a complaint against IDFC First Bank and Ebix Travels because the allegations involved complex events, requiring further evidence and the presence of witnesses. Therefore, the Complainant was set at liberty...

    The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Ambala (Haryana) bench comprising Smt. Neetu Sandhu (President), Ruby Sharma (Member) and Vinod Kumar Sharma (Member) dismissed a complaint against IDFC First Bank and Ebix Travels because the allegations involved complex events, requiring further evidence and the presence of witnesses. Therefore, the Complainant was set at liberty to pursue the matter in an appropriate court of law.

    Brief Facts:

    The Complainant was offered a credit card service at the time of opening a bank account with IDFC First Bank (“Bank”). Assured of satisfactory service, the Complainant accepted it with a sanctioned amount of Rs. 1,85,000/-. Utilizing this facility, the Complainant booked two tickets through Ebix Travels Pvt. Ltd (“Ebix”) for travel from Dublin Airport to Delhi Round Trip. Despite paying Rs. 1,07,112.95/- via the credit card for the tickets, the transaction was cancelled due to the non-capture of the amount by Ebix. However, the Bank deducted the same amount along with interest from the Complainant's credit card balance, leading to further deductions from the Complainant's bank account. Despite repeated requests and legal notices, the Bank continued to deduct instalments illegally. The Complainant made several communications with the Bank and Ebix but didn't receive a satisfactory response. Feeling aggrieved, the Complainant approached the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Ambala, Haryana (“District Commission”) and filed a consumer complaint against the Bank and Ebix.

    The Bank contested the territorial jurisdiction of the District Commission to handle the complaint and argued that the Complainant was not a consumer. It further claimed that the complaint lacked maintainability due to issues with party joinder and misjoinder. Additionally, it argued that the complaint was time-barred, and the relationship between the Complainant and the Bank was contractual, rendering it not subject to consumer complaint regulations. It argued that the Complainant had availed a flex money facility to book tickets through Ebix. It claimed that the Complainant failed to repay the borrowed amount, resulting in a pending sum of Rs.1,50,041.96/-.

    Ebix highlighted the terms and conditions of their agreement and argued that its role is limited to a service facilitator, not a direct service provider. It referred to several clauses in the agreement to disclaim liability for issues such as delays, cancellations, or deficiencies which are beyond its control. It stated that it did not receive payment for the cancelled transactions and was not informed by the Complainant.

    Observations by the District Commission:

    The District Commission noted that despite the numerous submissions and contentions, neither the Bank nor Ebix had provided reliable evidence to support their claims. Considering the complexity of the events and the need for substantial evidence and witnesses to ascertain any deficiency in service, the District Commission held that the matter could not be resolved through summary proceedings.

    It noted that consumer forums must assess the quality and nature of the claim, the evidence required, and the legal issues involved before deciding whether the matter should be adjudicated by civil courts. The purpose of consumer forums is to provide speedy remedies, avoiding delays typical in civil courts.

    Consequently, the District Commission dismissed the complaint. However, it held that the Complainant retains the liberty to seek a remedy before the appropriate court of law and may request condonation of delay under Section 14 of the Limitation Act, 1963, for the time spent before the District Commission.

    Case Title: Jasbir Kaur vs IDFC First Bank and Anr.

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