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– you may keep open The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 for handy reference. For clarity, you may write to our top consumer lawyers in Chandigarh.

MEANING:

Jurisdiction of Court refers to the territorial area over which a Court has the authority to decide cases.

A Consumer complaint can be filed in the following Courts:

  • District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (DCDRF)
  • State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC)
  • National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)

The choice of Court depends upon the amount of relief sought and the location where the cause of action arises.

WHO MAY FILE A COMPLAINT?

  • The case is eligible to be instituted in the city or state where the Opposite party resides or has registered office, branch, or works for gain.
  • The complaint can also be filed in cases where the opposite parties do not reside in the territorial jurisdiction of the Court but have agreed to the jurisdiction of a certain Court.
  • The case can also be instituted in the city or state where the cause of action has occurred.

JURISDICTION OF THE DISTRICT FORUM

As per section 11 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the District Forum shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and the compensation claimed (if any) does not exceed Rupees twenty lakhs.

MANNER IN WHICH CONSUMER COMPLAINT SHALL BE MADE

As per section 12, a complaint can be filed with a District Forum by—

(a) the consumer to whom such goods are sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or such services provided or agreed to be provided;

(b) any recognized consumer association whether the consumer to whom the goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or services provided or agreed to be provided is a member of such association or not;

(c) one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest, with the permission of the District Forum, on behalf of, or for the benefit of, all consumers so interested; or

(d) The Central or the State Government.

The explanation states that “recognized consumer association” means any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956), or any other law for the time being in force.

PROCEDURE FOLLOWED ON COMPLAINTS RELATED TO GOODS AND SERVICES

Section 13 specifies the procedure followed by the District forum when a complaint is received against goods and services.

PROCEDURE ON COMPLAINTS RELATED TO GOODS

1. In complaints against goods, the District Forum shall refer a copy of the complaint to the opposite party directing him to give his version of the case within a period of thirty days or such extended period which shall not exceed 15 days.

2. Where the opposite party on receipt of a complaint referred to him under the above-mentioned procedure denies or disputes the allegations contained in the complaint, or omits or fails to take any action to represent his case within the time given by the District Forum, the District Forum shall proceed to settle the consumer dispute in the following manner:

  • Where the complaint alleges a defect in the goods which can be determined only through proper analysis or test of the goods, the District Forum shall obtain a sample of the goods from the complainant, seal it and refer the sample so sealed to the appropriate laboratory along with a direction that such laboratory makes an analysis or test.
  • the laboratory shall report its findings to the District Forum within a period of forty-five days of the receipt of the reference or within such extended period as may be granted by the District Forum;
  • The complainant may be asked to deposit the requisite fees to the forum which would be given to the laboratory conducting the tests.
  • After the report is ready, a copy of it shall be given to the opposite party.
  • if any of the parties disputes the correctness of the findings of the appropriate laboratory, the District Forum shall require the opposite party or the complainant to submit in writing his objections in regard to the report made by the appropriate laboratory;
  • The District Forum shall thereafter give a reasonable opportunity to the complainant as well as the opposite party of being heard as to the correctness or otherwise of the report made by the appropriate laboratory.

PROCEDURE ON COMPLAINTS RELATED TO SERVICES

1. In complaints against services, the District Forum shall refer a copy of the complaint to the opposite party directing him to give his version of the case within a period of thirty days or such extended period which shall not exceed 15 days.

2. Where the opposite party on receipt of a complaint referred to him under the above-mentioned procedure denies or disputes the allegations contained in the complaint, or omits or fails to take any action to represent his case within the time given by the District Forum, the District Forum shall proceed to settle the consumer dispute on the basis of the evidence brought on record.

APPEAL TO STATE COMMISSION

As per section 15, any person aggrieved by an order made by the District Forum may prefer an appeal against such order to the State Commission within a period of thirty days from the date of the order. The State Commission may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the period of thirty days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period.

JURISDICTION OF THE STATE COMMISSION

As per Section 17, State Commission may entertain

  1. complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds rupees twenty lakhs but does not exceed rupees one crore and
  2. (appeals against the orders of any District Forums within the State; and
  3. It can call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any District Forum within the State with some irregularity.

APPEAL TO THE NATIONAL COMMISSION

As per section 19, any person aggrieved by an order made by the State Commission under section 17 may prefer an appeal against such order to the National Commission within a period of thirty days from the date of the order. The National Commission may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period.

JURISDICTION OF THE NATIONAL COMMISSION

  1. Section 21 states that the national commission can deal with cases where the value of goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds rupees one crore and
  2. appeals against the orders of any State Commission;
  3. It can call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any State commission with some irregularity.

APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT

Section 23 provides that any person, aggrieved by an order made by the National Commission may prefer an appeal against such order to the Supreme Court within a period of thirty days from the date of the order.

However, the Supreme Court may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the period of thirty days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period.

FINALITY OF ORDERS

Section 24 provides that every order of a District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission shall be final if no appeal has been preferred against such order.

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