CONSUMER PROTECTION ACTIntroductionThe earlier principle of “Caveat Emptor” or “let the buyer beware” whichwas prevalent has given way to the principle of “Consumer is King”. Theorigins of this principle lie in the factthat in today’s mass production economy where there is little contactbetween the producer and consumer, often sellers make exaggerated claimsand advertisements, which they do notintend to fulfill. This leaves the consumer in a difficult position with veryfew avenues for redressal. The onset on intense competition also madeproducers aware of the benefits ofcustomer satisfaction and hence by and large, the principle of “ consumer isking” is now accepted. The need to recognize and enforce the rights ofconsumers is being understood and several laws have been made for thispurpose. In India, we have the Indian Contract Act, the Sale of Goods Act,the Dangerous Drugs Act, the Agricultural Produce (Grading andMarketing) Act, the Indian Standards Institution (Certification Marks) Act,the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, the Standards of Weights andMeasures Act, the Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, etc which to someextent protect consumer interests.However, these laws required the consumer to initiate action by way of acivil suit, which involved lengthy legal process proving, to be too expensiveand time consuming for lay consumers. Therefore, the need for a moresimpler and quicker access to redressal to consumer grievances was felt andaccordingly, it lead to the legislation of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.Object of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986The main objective of the act is to provide for the better protection ofconsumers. Unlike existing laws, which are punitive or preventive in nature,the provisions of this Act arecompensatory in nature. The act is intended to provide simple, speedy andinexpensive redressal to the consumers’ grievances, and reliefs of a specificnature and award of compensation wherever appropriate to the consumer.The act has been amended in 1993 both to extend its coverage and scope andto enhance the powers of the redressal machinery.The basic rights of consumers as per the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) are1. The right to be protected against marketing of goods and services whichare hazardous to life and property
2. The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity,standard and price of goods, or services so as to protect the consumer againstunfair trade practices3. The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to variety of goods andservices at competitive prices4. The right to be heard and be assured that consumers’ interests will receivedue consideration at appropriate forums5. The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictivetrade practices or unscrupulsous exploitation of consumers6. The right to consumer educationExtend and Coverage of the Act:-The salient features of the Act are summed up as under:-- The Act applies to all goods and services unless specifically exempted bythe Central Government.- It covers all the sectors whether private, public or cooperative.- The provisions of the Act are compensatory in nature. It enshrines thefollowing rights of consumers:-- Right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services whichare hazardous to life and property.-Right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standardand price of goods or services so as to protect the consumer against unfairtrade practices;-Right to be assured , wherever possible , access to a variety of goods andservices at competitive prices;-Right to be heard and to be assured that consumers’ interests will receivedue consideration at appropriate forums;-Right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices unscrupulousexploitation of consumers; and -Right to consumer education-The Act envisages establishment of Consumer Protection Councils at theCentral and State levels, whose main objects will be to promote and protectthe rights of the consumersThe CPA extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu andKashmir and applies to all goods and services unless otherwise notified bythe Central Government.Definitions of Important TermsBefore studying the provisions of the CPA, it is necessary to understand theterms used in the Act. Let us understand some of the more importantdefinitions.Complainant Means
1. A consumer; or2. Any voluntary consumer association registered under the CompaniesAct,1956 or under any other law for the time being in force; or3. The Central Government or any State Government, who or which makes acomplaint; or4. One or more consumers where there are numerous consumers having thesame interestComplaint means any allegation in writing made by a complainant that :-1. An unfair trade practice or a restricted trade practice has been adopted byany trader2. The goods bought by him or agreed to be bought by him suffer from onemore defects3. The services hired or availed of or agreed to be hired or availed of by himsuffer from deficiency in any respect4. The trader has charged for the goods mentioned in the complaint a priceexcess of the price fixed by or under any law for the time being in force ordisplayed on the goodsor any package containing such goods.5. Goods which will be hazardous to life and safety when used, are beingoffered for sale to the public in contravention of the provisions of any lawfor the time being in force, requiring traders to display information in regardto the contents, manner and effect of use of suchgoods ;with a view to obtaining any relief provided by law under the CPA.Goods means goods as defined in the Sale of Goods Act, 1930. Under thatact, goods means every kind of movable property other than actionableclaims and money and includes stocks and shares, growing crops, grass andthings attached to or forming part of the land which are agreed to be severedbefore sale or under the contract of sale. Service is defined to mean serviceof any description which is made available to potential users and includesthe provision of facilities in connection with banking, financing, insurance,transport, processing, supply of electrical or other energy, board or lodgingor both, housing construction, entertainment, amusement or the purveryingof news or other information but does not include the rendereing of anyservice free of charge or under a contract of personal service. Consumerdispute means dispute where the person against whom a complaint has beenmade, denies or disputes theallegation contained in the complaint. Restrictive Trade Practice means anytrade practice which requires a consumer to buy, hire, or avail of any goodor as the case may be, services as a condition precedent for buying, hiring oravailing of any other goods or services.
Unfair Trade Practice means unfair trade practice as defined under theMonopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act. The MRPT act has definedcertain practices to be unfair trade practices. The detailed definition is givenin the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 as amended by the ConsumerProtection (Amendment) Act. 1993. It means a trade practice which, for thepurpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or for theprovision of any service, adopts any unfair method or unfair or deceptivepractice including any of the following practices, namely: -(a) False or misleading representation,(b) Bargain price(c) Offering of gifts, prize, contest etc.(d) Non compliance of product safety standard.(e) Hoarding or destruction of goods.The Act may be consulted before filing a complaint for unfair trade practice.Defect means any fault, imperfection or shortcoming in the quality, quantity,potency, purity or standard which is required to be maintained by or underany law for the time being in force or under any contract, express or implied,or as is claimed by the trade in any manner whatsoever in relation to anygoods.Deficiency means any fault, imperfection or shortcoming or inadequacy inthe quality, nature and manner of performance which is required to bemaintained by or under any law for thetime being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person inpursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service.Who is a Consumer?All of us are consumers of goods and services. For the purpose of theConsumer Protection Act,the word “Consumer” has been defined separatelyfor “goods” and “services”. For the purpose of “goods”, a consumer means aperson belonging to the following categories:(i) One who buys or agrees to buy any goods for a consideration which hasbeen paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised or under anysystem of deferred payment;(ii) It includes any user of such goods other than the person who actualybuys goods and such use is made with the approval of the purchaser.Note :- A person is not a consumer if he purchases goods for commercial orresale purposes However, the word “commercial” does not include use byconsumer of goods bought and
used by him exclusively for the purpose of earning his livelihood, by meansof self employment. - For the purpose of “services”, a “consumer” means aperson belonging to the following categories:(i) One who hires or avails of any service or services for a considerationwhich has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised or underany system of deferred payment;i.It includes any beneficiary of such service other than the one who actuallyhires or avails of the service for consideration and such services are availedwith the approval of such person.Who Can file a ComplaintThe following can file a complaint under the Act:-- A consumer- Any voluntary consumer organization registered under the SocietiesRegistration Act,1860 or under the Companies Act,1956 or under any otherlaw for the time being in force. - The Central Government- The State Government or Union Territory Administrations.- One or more consumers on behalf of numerous consumers who are havingthe same interest (Class action complaints)Structure-To provide simple, speedy and inexpensive redressal of consumergrievances, the Act envisages a three- tier quasijudicial machinery at theNational, State and District levels.National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission - known as “NationalCommission”.Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions known as “State Commission.Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums- known as “District Forum.-The provisions of this Act are in addition to and not in derogation of theprovisions of any other law for the time being in forceWhat Constitutes a Complaint?Under the Act, a complaint means any allegation in writing made by acomplainant in regard to one or more of the following:-- Any unfair trade practice as defined in the Act or restrictive trade practiceslike tie-up sales adopted by any trader.- One or more defects in goods. The goods hazardous to life and safety,when used,are being offered for sale to public in contravention of provisionsof any law for the time being in force.- Deficiencies in services.- A trader charging excess of price.(i) Fixed by or under any law for the time being in force; or
(ii) Displayed on goods; or(iii) Displayed on any packet containing such good;Where to file a complaintConsumer Protection Councils The interests of consumers are enforcedthrough variousauthorities set up under the CPA. The CPA provides for the setting up of theCentral Consumer Protection Council, the State Consumer ProtectionCouncil and the District ForumCentral Consumer Protection CouncilThe Central Government has set up the Central Consumer ProtectionCouncil which consists of the following members :-(a) The Minister in charge of Consumer Affairs in the Central Governmentwho is its Chairman, and(b) Other official and non-official members representing varied interestsThe Central council consists of 150 members and its term is 3 years. TheCouncil meets as and when necessary but at least one meeting is held in ayear.State Consumer Protection CouncilThe State Council consists of :-(a) The Minister in charge of Consumer Affairs in the State Governmentwho is its Chairman, and (b) Other official and non-official membersrepresenting variedinterestsThe State Council meets as and when necessary but not less than twomeetings must be held every year.Redressal Machinery under the Act The CPA provides for a 3 tier approachin resolving consumer disputes. The District Forum has jurisdiction toentertain complaints where the value of goods / services complained againstand the compensation claimed is less than Rs. 5 lakhs, the State Commissionfor claims exceeding Rs. 5 lakhs but not exceeding Rs. 20 lakhs and theNational Commission for claims exceeding Rs. 20 lakhs.District ForumUnder the CPA, the State Government has to set up a district Forum in eachdistrict of the State. The overnment may establish more than one DistrictForum in a district if it deemsfit. Each District Forum consists of :-(a) A person who is, or who has been, or is qualified to be, a District Judgewho shall be its President(b) Two other members who shall be persons of ability, integrity andstanding and have adequate knowledge or experience of or have shown
capacity in dealing with problems relating to economics, law, commerce,accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration, one of whom shallbe a woman.Appointments to the State Commission shall be made by the StateGoverrnment on the recommendation of a Selection Committee consistingof the President of the State Committee, the Secretary - Law Department ofthe State and the secretary incharge of Consumer Affairs Every member of the District Forum holdsoffice for 5 years orupto the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier and is not eligible for re-appointment. A member may resign by giving notice in writing to the StateGovernment whereupon the vacancy will be filled up by the StateGovernment.The District Forum can entertain complaints where the value of goods orservices and the compensation, if any, claimed is less than rupees five lakhs.However, in addition to jurisdiction over consumer goods services valuedupto Rs. 5 lakhs, the District Forum also may pass orders against tradersindulging in unfair trade practices, sale of defective goods or renderdeficient services provided the turnover of goods or value of services doesnot exceed rupees five lakhs.A complaint shall be instituted in the District Forum within the local limitsof whose jurisdiction -(a) The opposite party or the defendant actually and voluntarily resides orcarries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain at thetime of institution of the complaint; or(b) Any one of the opposite parties (where there are more than one) actuallyand voluntarily resides or carries on business or has a branch office orpersonally works for gain, at thetime of institution of the complaint provided that the other oppositeparty/parties acquiescence in such institution or the permission of the Forumis obtained inrespect of such opposite parties; or(c) The cause of action arises, wholly or in part.State CommissionThe Act provides for the establishment of the State Consumer DisputesRedressal Commission by the State Government in the State by notification.Each State Commission shall consist of:-(a) A person who is or has been a judge of a High Court appointed by StateGovernment (in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court ) whoshall be its President;
(b) Two other members who shall be persons of ability, integrity, andstanding and have adequate knowledge or experience of, or have showncapacity in dealing with,problems relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry,public affairs or administration, one of whom must be a woman. Everyappointment made under this hall be made by the State Government on therecommendation of a Selection Committeeconsisting of the President of the State Commission, Secretary - LawDepartment of the State and Secretary in charge of Consumer Affairs in theState. Every member of the District Forum holds office for 5 years or uptothe age of 65 years, whichever is earlier and is not eligible for re-appointment. A member may resign by giving notice in writing to the StateGovernment whereupon the vacancy will be filled up by the StateGovernment.The State Commission can entertain complaints where the value of goods orservices and the compensation, if any claimed exceed Rs. 5 lakhs but doesnot exceed Rs. 20 lakhs;The State Commission also has the jurisdiction to entertain appeal againstthe orders of any District Forum within the State The State Commission alsohas the power to call for the records and appropriate orders in any consumerdispute which is pending before or has been decided by any District Forumwithin the State if it appears that such District Forum hasexercised any power not vested in it by law or has failed to exercise a powerrightfully vested in it by law or has acted illegally or with materialirregularity.National CommissionThe Central Government provides for the establishment of the NationalConsumer Disputes Redressal Commission The National Commission shallconsist of :-(a) A person who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court, to be appointby the Central Government (in consultation with the Chief Justice of India )who be its President;(b) Four other members who shall be persons of ability, integrity andstanding and have adequate knolwiedge or experience of, or have showncapacity in dealing with, problems relating to economics, law, commerce,accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration, one of whom shall bea woman Appointments shall be by the Central Government on therecommendation of a Selection Committee consisting of a Judge of theSupreme Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice of India, the Secretary
in the Department of Legal Affairs and the Secretary in charge of ConsumerAffairs in theGovernment of India. Every member of the National Commission shall holdofficefor a term of five years or upto seventy years of age, whichever is earlier andshall not be eligible for reappointment. The National Commission shall havejurisdiction :-(a) To entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and thecompensation, if any, claimed exceeds rupees twenty lakhs:(b) To entertain appeals against the orders of any State Commission; and(c) To call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumerdispute which is pending before, or has been decided by any StateCommission where it appears to theNational Commission that such Commission has exercised a jurisdiction notvested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or hasacted in the exercise of itsjurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity. Complaints may be filedwith the District Forum by :-1. The consumer to whom such goods are sold or delivered or agreed to besold or delivered or such service provided or agreed to be provided2. Any recognised consumer association, whether the consumer to whomgoods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or service providedor agreed to be provided, is a member of such association or not3. One or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having thesame interest with the permission of the District Forum, on behalf of or forthe benefit of, all consumers so interested4. The Central or the State Government. On receipt of a complaint, a copy ofthe complaint is to be referred to the opposite party, directing him to give hisversion of the case within 30 days. This period may be extended by another15 days. If the opposite party admits the allegations contained in thecomplaint, the complaint will be decided on the basis of materials on therecord. Where the opposite party denies or disputes the allegations or omitsor fails to take any action to represent his case within the time provided, thedispute will be settled in the following manner :-I. In case of dispute relating to any goods : Where the complaint alleges adefect in the goods which cannot be determined without proper analysis ortest of the goods, a sample of the goods shall be obtained from thecomplainant, sealed and authenticated in the manner
prescribed for referring to the appropriate laboratory for the purpose of anyanalysis or test whichever may be necessary, so as to find out whether suchgoods suffer from any otherdefect. The appropriate laboratory’ would be required to report its finding tothe referring authority, i.e. the District Forum or the State Commissionwithin a period of fortyfivedays from the receipt of the reference or within such extended period as maybe granted by these agencies.How to File a ComplaintProcedures for filing complaints and seeking redressal are simple.There is no fee for filing a complaint before the District Forum, the StateCommission or the National Commission. ( A stamp paper is also notrequired) There should be 3 to 5 copies of the complaint on plain paper.The complainant or his authorized agent can present the complaint inperson.The complaint can be sent by post to the appropriate Forum / Commission.A complaint should contain the following information(a) The name, description and the address of the complainant.(b) The name , description and address of the opposite party or parties, as thecase may be, as far as they can be ascertained;(c) The facts relating to complaint and when and where it arose;(d) Documents, if any, in support of the allegations contained in thecomplaint.(e) The relief which the complainant is seeking.The complaint should be signed by the complainant or his authorizedagent.The complaint is to be filed within two years from the date on which causeof action has arisen.Relief Available to the ConsumersDepending on the nature of relief sought by the consumer and facts, theRedressal Forums may give orders for one or more of the following reliefs:-(a) Removal of defects from the goods,(b) Replacement of the goods;(c) Refund of the price paid;(d) Award of compensation for the loss or injury suffered;(e) Removal of defects or deficiencies in the services;(f) discontinuance of unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices ordirection not to repeat them;
(g) Withdrawal of the hazardous goods from being offered to sale; or(h) Award for adequate costs to parties.Procedure for Filing the AppealProcedure for filing the appeal :-- Appeal against the decision of a District Forum can be filed before theState Commission within a period of thirty days. Appeal against the decisionof a State Commission can be filed before the National Commission withinthirty days. Appeal against the orders of the National Commission can befiled before the Supreme Court within a period of thirty days.There is no fee for filing appeal before the State Commission or theNational Commission.Procedure for filing the appeal is the same as that of complaint, except theapplication should be accompanied by the orders of the District/StateCommission as the case may be and grounds for filing the appeal should bespecified.Speedy DisposalThe thrust of the Act is to provide simple, speedy and inexpensive redressalto consumers’ grievances. To ensure speedy disposal of consumers’grievances, the following provisionshave been incorporated in the Act and the rules farmed thereunder:-It is obligatory on the complainant or appellant or their authorized agentsand the opposite parties to appear before the Forum/Commission on the dateof hearing or any other date to which hearing could be adjourned.The National Commission, State Commission and District Forums arerequired to decide complaints, as far as possible, within a period of threemonths from the date of notice received by the opposite party wherecomplaint does not require analysis or testing of thecommodities and within five months if it requires analysis or testing ofcommodities.The National Commission and State Commissions are required to decidethe appeal as far as possible, within 90 days from the first date of hearing.Read the following questions for a better understanding of the Act:Q1. I have instituted a complaint before the Consumer Court against aMedical Practitioner. My complaint has been challenge on the ground that aMedical Practitioner cannot be sued under the Consumer Act. What doeslaw provide?A. Yes, a medical practitioner can be sued under the Consumer ProtectionAct 1986 for his or her professional negligence resulting in damage topatient. Section 2 (d) in defining a
consumer in Clause (ii) uses the expression ‘hires and avails of”. The word“hire” means employ of wages or fees”.Secondly the words “any service” in s. 2 (d) (ii) in Consumer Protection Act.A eloquent to bring the delinquent medical practitioners within the ambit ofConsumer Protection Act.Thirdly, s. 2 (o), Consumer Protection Act which defines service exemptsonly two types of services, one “service free of charge” and another“contract of personal service” postulates arelationship of master and servant. A medical man whose service isrequisitioned for a patient answers the clause “ contract of service” but never“a contract of personal service”. So, a negligent medical professional can beproceeded under the Consumer Protection Act 1986.Q2. I had purchased seeds from a party. The seeds did not germinate. Theother party took the plea that I was not a consumer. Whether purchase ofseeds for the purpose ofagriculture is purchase for commercial purpose?A. Purchase made for agriculture is not for commercial purpose. Therefore,the complainant is a consumer and entitled to seek redressal of his grievancein a Consumer Court against the party which supplied defective seed to him.Q3. I had got a confirmed ticket on Sahara Airways. The flight was latercancelled on account of technical snag. Is it a deficiency in service?A. Cancellation of flight on account of technical snag is not deficiency inservice as it is due to unavoidable circumstances. However, you ought to beallowed refund of the fare but nocompensation can be granted on account of any loss suffered by you (if any)because of the said cancellation.Q4. I was allotted a Maruti Car. There was a delay in delivery of the car.Subsequently, the dealer called upon me to make further payment as theprice of the car had gone up. Am Iliable to bear the price increase on account of delay caused by the dealer?A. You are not liable to pay any price increase in the above mentionedcircumstances since the increase in price is totally on account of the delay onthe part of the dealer for which aconsumer cannot be made to suffer.Q5. Does rejection of application for grant of loan by a Bank constitutedeficiency in service for which I can approach the Consumer Court?A. The Bank has a wide discretion in the matter of granting loans andadvances and continuing disbursement of loans sanctioned .The ConsumerCourts cannot sit in judgement over the discretion exercised by the Bank andas such you will not succeed in any such action, if taken by you.
Q6. The transformer, which was supplying electricity to me, got burned andwas replaced by the department after about two months. However, HoweverI was billed with consumption charges. Am I liable to pay any such chargeswhen there was no consumption of electricity by me?A. When the electricity was not supplied and the electricity bills producedby you showed that there was no consumption of electricity by you andadmittedly the reason for that was burning of the transformer, you are notliable to pay any minimum charges.Q7. I had applied for electricity connection. However, power supply was notprovided to me. Can I seek redressal of my grievance in Consumer Court?A. Your grievances is that you application for electricity connection was notgranted. Electricity may be a service but the hiring of the service is notcomplete till the Electricity Board sanctions service. Hence, you can’tapproach a Consumer Court for redressal of your said grievance. Yourremedy is to file a civil suit in the Court of law against the Electricity Board.Q8. Can Consumer Forums adjudicate disputes involving scale of pay?A. No, Consumer Forums do adjudicate dispute-involving scale of pay.Q9. I had applied for subscription in Rajlakshmi scheme of UTI. Theessence of the scheme was that the sum of money deposited with the UTIwould grow 21 times in 28 years. However subsequently, the UTI extendedthe maturity date by two years. Can I approach a Consumer Court?A. Unilateral alteration of terms of payment by the UTI in their abovescheme is “Deficiency in Service” for which you can seek relief in aconsumer court.Q10. My car met with an accident. The insurance claim was rejected on theground that my driver was not holding valid driving license. Should Iapproach a Consumer Court for seeking the Insurance claim?A. The Consumer Court will not be able to grant you any relief since thedriver employed by you did not have a driving license. You were boundunder law to check the ability of the person employed by you and the failurein holding a license for driving well debar you from claiming the InsuranceClaims.Q11. I had purchased a fridge, which suffered from several defects, andthose defects could not be removed or repaired by the Company. Can I seekredressal of my grievance?A. You can certainly seek redressal before the Consumer Forum. In a similarcase as yours, the Forum appointed a Local Commissioner who corroboratedthe version of the complainant. It was held by the Forum that the fridge wasfound to be defective within the period of warranty. The opposite party wasdirected to replace the unit with a new one.
Q12. I filed a complaint before the State Commission regarding payment ofpolicy amount in death claim, which was allowed to me by the StateCommission. I wish to file another complaint claiming the Double AccidentBenefit. Can I do so?A. It is well-settled principal of law that one can not educate the same causeof action before a court of law or before another adjudicating Forum after ithad already been adjudicating upon earlier. This is the basis for the relevantprovisions under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (CPC) which embody asound principal of law to obviate multiplicity of litigation. Eventhough Consumer Forums are not governed by the CPC yet the soundprinciples of law and procedure embody in that CPC are followed by theForums. Consequently, second complaint filed on the same cause of actionwould not be maintainable.Q13. I had applied for allotment for a plot and paid Rs.100 as registrationfees. At the time of draw my name was not included. I lodged a complaintbefore the Consumer Forum, wherein the Housing Board argued that I wasnot a “Consumer” since no allotment had taken place. What is the correctposition in law?A. Where the complainant had paid for the cost of application form as wellas the registration fee, he is the potential user and the nature of transaction iscovered by the expression “service of any description”. As such thecomplaint is maintainable. TheHousing Board is deemed to have undertaken to include your name in thedraw of lots for allotment of a plot. However, your application has not beenconsidered because your namewas not included in the draw. The only inference that can be drawn is thatthe person who prepared the list was negligent in discharge of his duty. Youcan proceed on this ground.Q14. My grievance is that I had registered with the M.I.G.scheme of theHaryana Housing Board and the board had escalated the price of the flatsthree times within a periodof two years. Does my case lie within the jurisdiction of Consumer Forums?A. It has been laid down that under Consumer Protection Act the pricingpolicy of flats cannot be adjudicated upon by Consumer Forums. Thequestion of pricing of the flat byHousing Board is not a Consumer dispute. If any amount has been illegallycharged from you by Housing Board , you can recover the same through acivil court.
Q15. A Complainant filed a case against our company who’s grievancerelated to transactions dating back to years 1994- 95 while the complaintwas filed in the year 1999. Is the complaint within time?A. Session 24 A of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides a limitationperiod of two years within which the complaint is required to be filed . In thelight of the above, thecomplaint is time barred and hence not maintainable.Q16. My grievance is that I am not getting regular supply of water. Whatcan I do against the concerned Government Authority before a ConsumerForum?A. The Government supplying water is performing a statutory functionswhich can not termed to be rendering of service. Hence the ConsumerForums have no jurisdictions to entertain such a complaint.Q17. My grievance is that a Hospital where I was treated declined to giveme the medical records pertaining to my treatment and operation for Ulcer.Can it be termed a deficiency is service on the part of the hospital?A. There is no negligence on the part of the hospital by reason of suchfailure to supply the said papers unless there was a legal duty cast on thehospital to furnish such documents to the patients, which has to be seen fromtheir Rules and Regulations.Q18. A registered letter sent to me was not delivered. What is the liability ofan employee of the Post Office in this matter?A. Section 6 of the Indian Post Office Act 1878 provides that theGovernment shall not incur any liability by reasons of the loss, mis-deliveryor delay or damage to any postal article in course of transmission by postexcept in so far as such liability is made in express terms to be undertakenby the Government and no Officer the Post Office shall incur any liability byreason of such loss, mis-delivery , delay or damage unless he had caused thesame fraudulently or by his willful act or default. In view of the said Section6, your complaint is not maintainable unless there is allegation an of fraud orwillful act of negligenceof any postal employee.Q19. A Superfast Train in which I was travelling was delayed for long hourswithout any reason. Can this be a ground for filing a complaint against theRailways?A. Additional charges are taken by the Railways from the passengerstravelling by a Superfast Train. If the trains are delayed for long hours andthe delay has not been properly explained it amounts to deficiency in serviceand therefore the Railway is bound to refund the excess charges.
Q20. I am a shareholder of HLL. Despite having made all the payments, theshare certificates were delivered very late. I have claimed the loss in termsof the escalation in themarket price of the share. Is my claim valid?A. Share market is a speculative market and there is bound to be fluctuationin value of shares of the company depending on market condition. Merelybecause the value of the share went up you are not entitled to getcompensation at the increasedrate, as damages are remote damages.Q21. I had paid the telephone bill but inspite of that the telephonedepartment disconnect my telephone without any notice. Can the departmentdisconnect the telephone without notice to the subscriber?A. Disconnection cannot be effected without notice to the subscriber. TheDepartment is bound by law to give such a notice. You can seekcompensation for the same alongwithrestoration of the connection.Q22. I had bought a scooter in last May, after some months it is creatingproblem to me. When I complained to Service center they serviced it and saythe problem was removed.But last week it is creating the same problem again. When I complainedthem they return me the Scooter next day and they say again that theproblem was removed. But today itis creating the same problem to me. Can I go to file a case in consumerforum.A. You can definitely file a case before the Consumer Forum but the idealremedy at this stage would be to complain to the company i.e. BajajScooters Ltd. against the service center and wait for their response. In casenothing is done even after this, then it will be prudent to file a case in theConsumer Forum.Q23. We have been buying Parag milk packet 500 ml from a retailer. Thepacket though gives only 400ml. What action can we take against thecompany.A. There is clear case of cheating and you can file a criminal complaintunder Section 421 of the Indian Penal Court. Besides filing a Criminalcomplaint, you can also approach a Consumer Court for this purpose. Youmust collect adequate evidence before doing the same, i.e.; retain a sealedpacket of Parag Milk which indicates the quantity of 500ml but actuallyweighs 400ml.
Q24. I had deposited a booking amount with Pal-Peugeot, letter the samewas cancelled but no refund has come so far, for the last two years. Thematter was referred to DelhiConsumer forum who referred to than (Maharashtra) consumer forum.Documents were sent to them but of no avail, again it was sent by us toDelhi as the deposit was made to Premnath Motors Delhi but DelhiConsumer forum has again written to follow than.A. You should file an appeal before the State Commission against the orderof the Consumer Forum. Since the cause of action arose at Delhi, i.e.; theDistributor was located at Delhi and money also seems to have been paid atDelhi the Delhi Consumer Forum had the jurisdiction in case the distributors(who work at Delhi) have been made parties to the said petition. You shouldfile an appeal against both the manufacturers as well as the distributors, i.e.;Prem Nath Motors against the order.Q25. I purchased on 1.1.2000 from a shop in Panjim, Goa a bottle of ScotchWhiskey. I find that it is not original in that it tastes too sweat. It appears tobe spurious. I have written letters to the MD, Goa Tourism but there is noreply. What remedy is available to me to the relief.A. You can certainly file a complaint before the Consumer Forum againstsupply of Spurious Whisky supplied to you as well as also lodge a CriminalComplaint in this regard. However,the difficulty (which is a major one) is that since the bottle of Whisky hasbeen open, it will be virtually impossible to prove that the contents of theWhisky are the same as they werewhen the bottle was sealed. Since, the legal system is totally based onevidence / proof, it would not be a worthwhile exercise to institute any legalproceedings in the facts andcircumstances of the present case.Q26. I understand that under the Consumer Protection Act, a complain hasto be made within 2 years from the date on which the cause of action arose.What happens in a casewhere the 2 year period has elapsed because the I spent the time writing(andreplying to) to the manufacturer in the hope that he would replace the good?What argument can Igive to the Forum in response to the plea of 2 years which I know will betaken by the manufacturer?A. It is correct that the Consumer Protection Act, provides for a limitationperiod of two years for filing a complaint and the said period starts from thedate when the cause of action arose.
The same is provided under Section 24-A of the Consumer Protection Act,1986. However, the Consumer Forum has the power to entertain a complainteven after the said period in case it is convinced that the complaint could notbe filed within the said period on account of certain sufficient cause. Thusyou would have to give a good explanation in order to have the delaycondoned from the Consumer Forum. In case the only ground pleaded byyou is that you were corresponding with the Manufacturer and hoping to getthe goods replaced, the same would not be construed as sufficient reasonsfor condoning the delay.Q27. Can I claim for replacement. If they do not replace the vehicle can Imove to consumer forum. Who should I make a party i.e. the dealer, or theLML company or both of them. The dealer is in Karol Bagh the companyoffice in Greater Kailash and factory’s regd. office in Kanpur in whichJurisdiction/Zone should I file the complaint. Or any other detail which youfeel Justified to provide me.A. You should again inform the Company about all the facts and steps takenby them for removing the defect in writing and further pursue the matterwith the Company and try to get the defect rectified. In case your efforts failyou can file the complaint with Consumer Forum at Delhi by making boththe Company and the Dealer as parties to the complaint. Replacement isallowed by Forum if the defect is such that it is not possible to rectify thesame. Give the Delhi address of the company and file the complaint atDelhi.Q28. I injured my knee in a game of football on 31st December 1997. It wasdiagnosed as ACL TEAR. For that I was operated upon in the knee on 2ndMarch 1998. After theoperation my knee developed stiffness, which is unusual in such cases evenafter undergoing physiotherapy for two months I was unable to bend orstraighten my knee. So after two months of operation my knee wasmanipulated under anesthesia to relieve stiffness. A plaster was put on theknee for one month. I was told to start walking . I used to walk with a limp.For about 8 months I continued to walk with a limp but then my conditiondeteriorated & in March-99 I had to start using crutches to move around. Tofind out the cause of this pain I underwent investigative arthoscopy in June-99 which revealed thefollowing 1. ACL Laxity 2. meniscus tear 3. patellofemoral osteoarthritis . Iwas advised by the doctor to do physiotherapy, and take painkillers for thepain, I am still doing physiotherapy, but neither the pain has reduced nor amI able to walk without crutches, this whole experience has affected my lifebadly. Can I sue the doctors for negligence / inefficiency. My both
operations were carried out in military hospitals, and they were done free ofcost since I am serving in army. So I can not go to Consumer protectioncourt. Please advise?.A. You can file a writ petition in the High Court of judicature against thehospital, making doctors responsible for your condition a party. You canalso seek damages alongwith theappropriate action against the doctors and the management in the writpetition .