The Weekly Obiter

HON’BLE NCDRC ON WHETHER CONSUMER FORUM HAS JURISDICTION TO ENTERTAIN COMPLAINT IF OPPOSITE PARTY HAS ALREADY FILED A CIVIL SUIT: NOVEMBER 10, 2017

November 24, 2017

The Hon’ble National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (hereinafter referred to as “Hon’ble NCDRC”) in the matter bearing “First Appeal No. 1229 of 2017 titled as Yashwant Rama Jadhav vs. Shaukat Hussain Shaikh and Anr” has set aside the order of the Ld. State Commission whereby the complaints filed by the appellants were dismissed and has remitted the same back to the Ld. State Com-mission to decide the matter on merits.
The Hon’ble NCDRC dealt with batch petitions wherein the grievance of the complainants before Ld. State Commission was that despite them having paid substantial amount to the respondents, the construction of the flats had not been completed. The complaints were resisted by the respondents, which interalia, pleaded that they had already filed civil suits for cancellation of the agreements executed with the complainants and therefore, the consumer complaints on the basis of the said agreements were not maintainable The complainants, therefore, approached the concerned State Commission, seeking possession of their respective flats alongwith compensation etc.
The Hon’ble NCDRC has observed that Section ‘3’ of the Consumer Protection Act, to the extent it is relevant provides that the provisions of the Act shall be in addition and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law for the time being in force. Thus, the remedy available under the Consumer Protection Act is an additional remedy, which Parliament has made available to a consumer. Even if two remedies, one before the Civil Court and the other before the Consumer Forum are available, it is for him to decide as to which remedy he wants to avail.
The Hon’ble NCDRC has held that the jurisdiction of the consumer forum is not ousted on account of a Civil suits having been instituted by the respondents, even if the subject matter of the said suits is the same agreement which is the foundation of the consumer complaint. 

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