Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (Meaning and Purpose)
Other statutes were not able to provide speedy justice to the consumers and hence, the consumer protection act came into being. Avoidance of technicalities which act as a hindrance to justice to the consumers was the main purpose of this Act.
Who can file a complaint under CPA, 1986?
· Consumer [defined under Sec. 2(1)(d) of the CPA];
· Voluntary associated registered under the Companies Act, 2013 or any other law for the time being in force;
· Central or State Government;
· One or more consumers (consumers having same interest);
· Beneficiary of the goods/services;
· Legal heirs or representatives of deceased consumers;
· Husband or relative of the consumer.
Pecuniary Jurisdiction of Consumer Courts
Till Rs 20 lakhs – District Forum
Rs 20 lakhs to Rs 1 crore – State Commission
Rs 1 crore – National Commission
Consumer Complaint (Process)
1. Identify the jurisdiction of the court (Pecuniary & territorial).
2. Pay the prescribed fee for the specific forum you want to file a complaint in.
3. Draft your complaint mentioning all the necessary facts which will establish the cause of action.
4. Mention name, description, and address of the complainant and the opposite parties.
5. Put your signatures at the end of the draft.
6. Attach the copies of all the documents supporting your claim (evidence).
7. Ask for compensation, damages, litigation costs and interest on all such amounts in the draft itself.
8. Explain as to how this case falls in the jurisdiction of this court.
9. Mention your relief clearly.
10. Limitation period is 2 years. If there is a delay, then justify such delay.
11. File an affidavit as to the truth and correctness of the facts.
12. Send 5 copies of the complaint by registered post to the court and additional copies to the opposite parties.
Statutory Law References
Consumer Protection Act, 1986
New India Assurance Company Limited v. Abhilash Jewellery [III (2009) CPJ 2 (SC)]
Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation v. Ashok Iron Works Private Limited [III (2009) CPJ 5 SC]
HDFC Bank Limited v. Balwinder Singh [III (2009) CPJ 40 (NC)]
Jagdish Kumar Bajpai v. Union Of India [IV (2005) CPJ 197 (NC)]
Pt. Parmanand Katara v. Union Of India & Ors [1989 SCR (3) 997]
Important Things to Remember
ü A consumer can himself file the complaint – he doesn’t need the help of an advocate for that. Moreover, he can argue the same without any lawyer.
ü It is not mandatory to pay court fee at the time of filing the complaint;
ü It is desirable that the consumer first gives notice to the opposite party to settle the matter amicably. It the opposite party neglects or refuses to do so, then comes the court action;
ü Confirm whether the concerned goods or services come under the CPA;
ü Preserve all postal acknowledgments of letters posted and all other documents;
ü Implead all the opposite parties in the complaint;
ü Seek help from Consumer Protection NGOs.