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Dismissal Of Consumer Complaints On Mere Technical Grounds And Marginal Delays Defeats The Purpose Of Ensuring Justice: SC [Read Order]

Ashok Kini
13 May 2019 11:26 AM GMT
Dismissal Of Consumer Complaints On Mere Technical Grounds And Marginal Delays Defeats The Purpose Of Ensuring Justice: SC [Read Order]
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"Though the Act stipulates a period for disposing of a consumer complaint, it is also a sobering reflection that complaints cannot be disposed of due to non-availability of resources and infrastructure."

The Supreme Court has observed that dismissal of consumer complaints on mere technical grounds, add to the burden of litigation and defeat the purpose of ensuring justice in the consumer fora. We are affirmatively of the view that orders of this nature detract from the true purpose for which the NCDRC has been established, said the bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud...

The Supreme Court has observed that dismissal of consumer complaints on mere technical grounds, add to the burden of litigation and defeat the purpose of ensuring justice in the consumer fora.

We are affirmatively of the view that orders of this nature detract from the true purpose for which the NCDRC has been established, said the bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta while setting aside an order of National Consumer Commission (NCDRC). In this case (Vibha Bakshi Gokhale vs. Gruhashilp Constructions), NCDRC had dismissed the complaint as the complainant failed to file a rejoinder and evidence within stipulated time.

The court said that the purpose which Parliament sought to achieve by setting up the NCDRC is to protect the rights of consumers to seek access to justice under the Consumer Protection Act 1986.

"We are affirmatively of the view that orders of this nature detract from the true purpose for which the NCDRC has been established. The NCDRC should have borne this in mind instead of rejecting the complaint on a technicality. Such dismissals only add to the burden of litigation and defeat the purpose of ensuring justice in the consumer fora."

The court further observed that it has been repeatedly observing that marginal delays are not being condoned by the NCDRC on the ground that the Consumer Protection Act 1986 stipulates a period within which a consumer complaint has to be disposed of. It said:

"Though the Act stipulates a period for disposing of a consumer complaint, it is also a sobering reflection that complaints cannot be disposed of due to non-availability of resources and infrastructure. In this background, it is harsh to penalise a bona fide litigant for marginal delays that may occur in the judicial process. The consumer fora should bear this in mind so that the ends of justice are not defeated."

Read Order


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