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Whether Persons Booking Office Space Are Precluded From Availing Of The Benefit Under The Consumer Protection Act, 1986? Supreme Court To Decide

Shruti Kakkar
27 Nov 2021 5:47 AM GMT
Whether Persons Booking Office Space Are Precluded From Availing Of The Benefit Under The Consumer Protection Act, 1986? Supreme Court To Decide
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In view of the connected appeals raising issue as to whether persons booking office space are precluded from availing of the benefit under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked for placing the matters before the Chief Justice of India so that the same could be listed for deciding the question of law. The bench of Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh issued...

In view of the connected appeals raising issue as to whether persons booking office space are precluded from availing of the benefit under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked for placing the matters before the Chief Justice of India so that the same could be listed for deciding the question of law.

The bench of Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh issued the direction in light of the submission made by appellant's counsel that the connected appeal Bhasin Infotech and Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. vs. Snigdha Singh (C.A. 6830/2018) raised the same issue about the same project.

"In view of the aforesaid let the matters be placed before Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India so that all the matters can be listed together to decide this question of law," the bench noted in its order.

During the course of hearing, Senior Advocate Shyam Divan submitted that the interdict against the arbitration proceedings was causing damage to the respondents. In this regard he further argued that irrespective of the results of the appeal, the respondents would not be able to recover the amounts from the persons who had booked the premises.

He further submitted that the respondents were willing to have a mediation, as a number of cases had been settled and the presence of a Mediator may facilitate further settlements.

While the appellant's counsel sought time to seek instructions on this behalf the bench adjourned the matter for January 11, 2022.

Case Before National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission

M/s Grand Venezia Buyers Association ( Regd.) had filed a consumer complaint against M/s Grand Venezia Commercial Towers Pvt. Ltd. alleging deficiency in service on their part in respect of builder – buyer agreement between 35 members of the Association and the opposite party in respect of respective office spaces booked by those members in the development project undertaken by the opposite party. It was alleged that the members had booked respective commercial spaces with the intention to use the same exclusively for earning livelihood by way of self employment.

Opposing the Association's complaint, M/s Grand Venezia Commercial Towers Pvt. Ltd. submitted that the association could not be termed as "consumers" u/s 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Rejecting the complaint, Justice Ajit Bharihoke (Presiding Member) and Anup K Thakur (Member) observed,

"It is clear that the intention of the respective members of the complainant association while hiring the services of the opposite party was to earn lease and rental income and not to use those premises exclusively for the purpose of earning livelihood by way of self employment. Thus, in our view, the members of the complainant Association on whose behalf the complaint has been filed cannot be termed as consumers because they had hired the services of the opposite party for commercial purposes. As none of the members on whose behalf the complaint is filed is a consumer , the consumer complaint filed by the complainant Association although filed under section 12 (1) (b) of the Act is not maintainable."

Case Title: M/S Grand Venezia Buyers Association (Regd.) v. M/S Grand Venezia Commercial Towers Pvt. Ltd.| Civil Appeal No(s). 1660/2018

Click Here To Read/Download Supreme Court's Order 

Click Here To Read/Download NCDRC's Order





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