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The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is a social legislation which lays down the provisions for the rights of the consumers and protecting the rights through a due procedure of law. It seeks to provide the consumers with a less expensive and speedy redressal of their grievances against defective goods and services that do not meet the standards. As stated popularly, “The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 makes the dictum, Caveat Emptor (‘Buyer Beware’) a thing of the past. Jurisdiction under Consumer Courts.
The Act provides for the establishment of quasi-judicial bodies which shall provide inexpensive and speedy redressal of consumer disputes. Thus, a 3-tier structure has been set up in the country as follows
At present, there are more than 620 District Forums and more than 30 State Commissions. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) at the apex is situated at Delhi.
As per the Act, the pecuniary Jurisdiction:
It has been consistently held that for the purpose of pecuniary jurisdiction, it is the value of the good and/or services which should be considered. It is not the deficiencies, the value of the cost of removing the deficiency, advance payment or any other aspect to be considered for the purpose of determining the pecuniary jurisdiction. It was also settled that interest forms a part of compensation.
For the purpose of establishing where the cause of action arises, it can be correlated with the Contract Act, the principles of which apply to the Consumer Protection Act as well. It can thus be stated that for the purpose of consumer complaints, relating to normal contracts for services and/or goods, the cause of action shall arise at any of the following places,
Online transactions have become an integral part of our living. When a buyer seeks redressal against any suppliers/ service providers who have a web presence, the lines of territorial jurisdiction fade away. In such cases, these quasi-judicial bodies have stepped up to the aid of the consumer until the legislation clears up the situation. The emails exchanged between the parties which are online, through the internet, constitutes a contract. Thus, the cause of action can arise at multiple places. According to a Landmark judgment, the territorial jurisdiction over a consumer complaint in an online transaction shall lie at any of the multiple places, where the cause of action arises, which can be where the consumer resides.
Yes. If a consumer is not satisfied by the decision of a District Forum, the State Commission has the jurisdiction to hear the appeal against it. Against any order of the State Commission, the National Commission can be approached by the consumer. A consumer aggrieved by the order of National Commission can prefer an appeal to the Supreme Court within a period of thirty days from the date of the order
The appeals can be filed within a period of 30 days.
Yes, the Act does not eliminate the powers of the civil court, but only seeks to provide a more efficient redressal mechanism. It was observed by the National Commission that the jurisdiction of the Consumer forum cannot be ousted solely on the account of a Civil Suit instituted by the respondent, which is not the case where the person has already approached a Civil Court.
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