Class Action Suit: Oneness Of The Interest Is Akin To A Common Grievance Against The Same Person: SC [Read Order]
Oneness of the interest is akin to a common grievance against the same person, said the Supreme Court upholding a view of full bench of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in Ambrish Kumar Shukla and ors. Vs. Ferrous Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd.
In this case, 44 persons including Anjum Hussain, who had booked an office space in a project consisting of residential units, shops and offices launched by Intellicity Business Park Pvt. Ltd, approached the Consumer Commission seeking refund of the amounts paid by them to the builder along with interest and compensation, as they failed to honour its commitments of delivering possession in four years. An application seeking permission in terms of Section 12(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act, to institute this complaint on behalf of all such buyers of commercial units, was also filed. This application was dismissed by the Consumer commission, holding that the class action under Section 12(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act on behalf of not only the complainants but all the allottees of the shops/commercial units in the project is not maintainable. The commission was of the view that the complainants cannot know the purpose for which the allottees, other than the complainants had booked the shops, commercial units in the aforesaid project.
In appeal, the bench comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, referring to, Chairman, Tamil Nadu Housing Board, Madras vs. T. N. Ganapathy, observed that these persons need not have the same cause of action and all that is required for application of said provision is that the persons concerned must have common interest or common grievance.
The bench also referred to judgment of full Bench of the National Commission in Ambrish Kumar Shukla and ors. Vs. Ferrous Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. It said:
"It was observed by this Court in T.N. Housing Board that the provision must receive an interpretation which would sub-serve the object for its enactment. It is in this light that the Full Bench of the National Commission held that oneness of the interest is akin to a common grievance against the same person.. However, the National Commission in the instant case, completely lost sight of the principles so clearly laid down in the decisions referred to above. In our view, the approach in the instant case was totally erroneous."