Provisions For Jurisdiction Of Consumer Commissions Under Consumer Protection Act 2019 Not Retrospective In Operation: NCDRC

first_imgNews UpdatesProvisions For Jurisdiction Of Consumer Commissions Under Consumer Protection Act 2019 Not Retrospective In Operation: NCDRC Srishti Ojha20 March 2021 9:22 PMShare This – xThe National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has on Tuesday held that provisions regarding Jurisdiction of District, State and National Commission under Section 34,47 and 58 of the consumer protection Act of 2019 are prospective in operation and not retrospective.Therefore, the complaints instituted before Act 2019 came into force are to be adjudicated by the District, State and…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has on Tuesday held that provisions regarding Jurisdiction of District, State and National Commission under Section 34,47 and 58 of the consumer protection Act of 2019 are prospective in operation and not retrospective.Therefore, the complaints instituted before Act 2019 came into force are to be adjudicated by the District, State and National Consumer Commissions in accordance with provisions of jurisdiction under Act of 1986 under which the Complaints were instituted.Incidentally, on the same day, the Supreme Court also held that the consumer complaints filed before July 20, 2020, should continue in the fora as per the 1986 Act and need not be transferred to the fora as per the pecuniary limits under the 2019 Act.All Consumer Complaints Filed Before CPA 2019 Should Be Heard By Fora As Per Pecuniary Jurisdiction Under CPA 1986 : Supreme Court[Read Judgment]The Court was considering an application filed by a builder company seeking return of the consumer complaint filed against him to appropriate forum having pecuniary jurisdiction to adjudicate the complaint, after coming into force of the 2019 Act.While dismissing applicant’s request, the Commission observed that the appropriate forum to hear a complaint instituted before coming into force of Act of 2019 will be forum having jurisdiction under the Act of 1986 under which the complaint was filed.The Commission observed that a new enactment, bringing change in forum, with significant alternations in jurisdiction provisions, does not effect the pending proceedings unless an intention to the contrary is visible. The Act of 2019 does not contain any provision that the pending complaints before National or State Commission will be transferred to the fora now having pecuniary jurisdiction.The Commission observed that the Parliament were in the know the Supreme Court’s orders when it passed the Act in 2019, and this whether or not any provision is ultra vires of the Constitution will be examined by the Supreme Court if and when the matter is taken before them.Further, it has been observed that pecuniary jurisdiction and territorial jurisdiction both together constitute jurisdiction and one cannot be taken in isolation of the other. If the method of computing pecuniary jurisdiction of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies is adopted according to the 2019 Act, most complaints pending adjudication before National commission will go before State or District and most of those pending adjudication before state commission will go to the District.According to the Bench, the change of forum in present case cannot be treated as question of pure procedure applicable retrospectively by taking the general law that ‘procedure law is retrospective in application’ , while ignoring the significant alterations made in jurisdiction provisions, the anomaly and absurdity it will create.”Retrospective application of the provisions relating to Jurisdiction in the Act of 2019 will give rise to anomalous and absurd situation, method or workability will not exist.” the Commission said.The Bench also observed that decision taken in the present case with prayer seeking return of consumer complaint to appropriate forum with appropriate pecuniary jurisdiction, will have a direct bearing on other consumer complaints pending adjudication at various stages before the National Commission. Therefore it translates into whether all complaints pending adjudication before the National Commission in which orders have not been reserved or pronounced are required to be sent to appropriate forum that now have the pecuniary jurisdiction according to Act 2019The National Commission also considered the following two important questions, as contended by Senior Advocate K Venugopal on behalf of the builder company:A matter involving question of law cannot be heard by a Bench with no judicial member.The Bench is bound to take recourse to Regulation 13 of Regulations Consumer Commission Procedure Regulations 2020 and refer the matter to President of the Commission for constitution of another Bench of which the President is the member.The Commission however held that the Bench can not and should not examine whether or not it lacks competency under law or if has been unlawfully constituted.”No Tribunal can examine act of its parent statute. Specifically, no Bench can examine validity of provisions relating to composition of this Commission or relating to constitution pf its Benches by the Hon’ble President of the Commission ” the Bench observed.With regards to the Regulations, the Bench observed that it is at the considered wisdom of the Bench whether or not it considers appropriate and necessary to refer a matter to the President under Regulations 12. The discretion cannot be arbitrary or whimsical and has to be rationally exercised with application of mind.In the present case, a consumer complaint was filed in 2017 against a builder company Jaiprakash Associates. After the Consumer Protection act 2019 came into force repealing the Act of 1986, an interlocutory application was moved by the builder association seeking return of the complaint to appropriate forum having pecuniary jurisdiction to adjudicate the complaint.A co- ordinate Bench of the NCDRC dismissed the application on grounds that an administrative order was issued by the Commission’s President stating that the Consumer Protection Act 2019 is not retrospective, but prospective in operation, and therefore all matters filed before the District, State and National Commission prior to date that the Act came into effect, will continue to remain in those commissions.The Delhi High Court through its order in November 2020 however set aside the order of the Co ordinate Bench directing the Commission to decide the issue on its own merits remaining uninfluenced by the administrative order.Click Hear To Download/Read OrderSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. 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