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JURISDICTION OF CONSUMER COURTS IN ARBITRATION AGREEMENT CASES (Impact of amendment in section 8 of Arbitration & Conciliation Act)

APPLICATION OF SECTION 3 OF CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT 1986 Referred Cases-Hon’ble Supreme Court - !)Skypack Couriers Ltd. (Through order by Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud J.) !!) National Seeds Corporation Limited v. M. Madhusudhan Reddy & Anr. (2012) 2 SCC 506 !!!)Rosedale Developers Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Aghore Bhattacharya [(2015) 1 WBLR 385 (SC)], !V)Lt. Col. Anil Raj & Anr. Vs. M/s. Unitech Ltd., Consumer Complaint No. 346 of 2013, decided on 02.5.2016, V)Secretary, Thirumugugan Cooperative Agricultural Credit Society Vs. M. Lalitha (through LRs) & Ors. (2004) 1 SCC305 wherein it had been authoritatively opined that the existence of an arbitration clause will not be a bar to the entertainment of aComplaint by a Forum under the Consumer Act....

THE NEW CONSUMER PROTECTION LAW -NEW ERA FOR CONSUMERS

Consumer forums and commissions do not have employees with separate cadre exclusively for the court and it results in transfer of employees to the other departments in the state. Consumer courts have different style of functioning in compare to other ministerial work. By the time employee understands the functioning of court and steno learns to type orders, he or she is transferred with relieving order. New posting is often delayed for many reasons which hamper the functioning of consumer courts. The new act has made a provision that employees in the consumer courts shall work under the supervision of Presidents of the respective consumer commissions which shall be a great relief to the consumer commissions....

MAINTAINABILITY OF CONSUMER COMPLAINT WHEN CASE ALREADY PENDING IN CIVIL COURT ON THE SAME ISSUE

4. REFERENCE TO THE DECIDED CASES ON THE ISSUE- !)The National Commission in M/s. Special Machines, Karnal v. Punjab National Bank & Ors., as reported in I (1991) CPJ 78, held that ‘when the subject matter of a complaint was sub-judice before a Civil Court, the Commission could not interfere.’ !!)A similar view has been taken in ‘Lilly Chaoyin v. CMD, Tamilnadu Industrial Investment Corporation & Ors. by the Tamilnadu State Commission, as reported in II (1995) CPJ 209. In view of the above discussions ,it stands clear that no one can opt for two remedies for the same cause and cannot be benefitted twice for the same loss....

LAW SOON TO ENSURE DOCTORS PRESCRIBE CHEAPER GENERIC DRUGS (Professionals deviating from ethical values)

While National Commission had held in the matter of D.K.Gandhi V M.Mathias 2007 CTJ 909 (CP) NCDRC that services rendered by an advocate to his client in the course of litigation is to be covered under the provisions of Consumer Protection Act, bench comprising Justice L.S Panta and Justce B Sudershan reddy stayed the ruling of Apex consumer commission holding that lawyers rendered legal assistance and not service to the client. In spite of a good reasoned order pronounced by National Commission after detailed discussion in the case of D K Gandhi v M Mathias on the issue, large number of advocate bodies ,bar of Indian lawers,Delhi High Court bar association and Bar Council of India approached the Hon’ble SC and got the order stayed ....

WHEN PRAYER IS NOT MADE FOR COMPENSATION; QUESTION OF ACTUAL LOSS

The main question raised in these appeals is whether in the absence of any prayer made in the complaint and without evidence of any loss suffered, the award of punitive damages was permissible.. Final operative order passed by the Supreme court reverses the order of National Commission in which compensation was awarded “ Compensation can be granted only in terms of Section 14(1)(d) of the Act. Clause (d) contemplates award of compensation to the consumer for any loss or injury suffered due to negligence of the opposite party. In the present case there was no allegation or material placed on record to show negligence." Thus, mere proof of "unfair trade practice" is not enough for claim or award of relief unless causing of loss is also established which in the present case has not been established. There was no prayer for any compensation’....

THE CONSTITUTIONAL VALIDITY OF THE REAL ESTATE LAW UPHELD

A bench of Justices Naresh Patil and Rajesh Ketkar pronounced its judgment on a bunch of petitions filed by real estate developers and individual plot owners, all challenging the constitutional validity of the Act .It was held- “RERA is not a law relating to only regulatory control the promoters (developers), but its objective is to develop the real estate sector, particularly the incomplete projects across the country. It is also crucial to protect the interest of flat buyers across the country,”...

THE NEW CONSUMER PROTECTION LAW -NEW ERA FOR CONSUMERS.

Consumer forums and commissions do not have employees with separate cadre exclusively for the court and it results in transfer of employees to the other departments in the state. Consumer courts have different style of functioning in compare to other ministerial work. By the time employee understands the functioning of court and steno learns to type orders, he or she is transferred with relieving order. New posting is often delayed for many reasons which hamper the functioning of consumer courts. The new act has made a provision that employees in the consumer courts shall work under the supervision of Presidents of the respective consumer commissions which shall be a great relief to the consumer commissions....

CAN A TRUST BE A CONSUMER BEFORE HE CONSUMER FORUM

“Once it is accepted that a consumer complaint on behalf of more than one consumer can be filed by a recognized consumer association, it can hardly be disputed that it is the aggregate value of the services which has to be taken for the purpose of determining pecuniary jurisdiction of the consumer forum before which the complaint is filed,” it had said. A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra confirmed the order by NCDRC...

EDUCATION IS A SERVICE UNDER CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT

Hon'ble Supreme Court in the year 2003 in the matter of Usmania Islamic Academy v / s State of Karnataka, three judge’s bench comprising Justice V N Khare, Justice S N Variyavaha and Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan pronounced a detailed order holding educational institutes answerable before consumer forums by discussing every aspect covered by the educational institute in providing education to the students .Again there was Supreme Court ruling in the year 2004 in the matter of Bhupesh Khurana v Budha Dental College & hospital holding college unfair for their misleading information about the college.Its ample clear from the above discussion that university is not a service provider for its statutary duties but institutes are responsible for providing services for which they charge money in the form of fee from the student...

HAS THE APEX COURT REMOVED THE LIMITATION BAR IN CONSUMER MATTERS

As a matter of law, the consumer forum must deal with the complaint on merits only if the complaint has been filed within two years from the date of accrual of cause of action and if beyond the said period, the sufficient cause has been shown and delay condoned for the reasons recorded in writing. In other words, it is the duty of the consumer forum to take notice of Section 24A and give effect to it. If the complaint is barred by time and yet, the consumer forum decides the complaint on merits, the forum would be committing an illegality and, therefore, the aggrieved party would be entitled to have such order set aside. This is what Supreme Court has so far viewed in various cases...

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