Revisional jurisdiction of National Consumer Commission

Dismissal of complaint itself in Revision by Complainant:

Can National Commission dismiss a complaint on a ground which was not raised by the opposite party alone?

Please note that except Limitation Act, no law enjoins a court to reject a claim on its own. In an adversary litigation, objection has to be pleaded by one party and responded by the other party.  Following this principles, the Supreme Court set aside order of National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission with following observations:

5. At the outset, we may notice that this was not a defence raised by the respondent either before the District Forum or before the State Commission. In fact, the respondent had not even challenged the order of the State Commission. In our view, the National Commission, in a revision petition filed by the complainant praying for increase of compensation and payment of interest, could not have dismissed the petition itself. We, therefore, set aside the order of the National Commission.

6. As far as the merits are concerned, the conduct of the respondent clearly shows that he had not come to court with clean hands. In fact, in December, 2004 when a letter was written to the appellants offering them the commercial space in question, the same had already been sold to someone else. It would also be pertinent to mention that before the District Forum statement had been made by the counsel for the respondent that the shop in question was lying vacant and, therefore, the District Forum had passed the directions mentioned hereinabove. Later, it was stated that this statement had wrongly been made by the counsel due to mis-communication. The fact remains that the shop booked by the appellants was sold to another customer on 04.11.2004, even before the letter dated 06.12.2004 was sent to the appellants. It is, therefore, a clear-cut case of deficiency in service by the respondent.

7. In view of the above, the appeal is allowed. Judgment of the National Commission is set aside and the respondent is directed to refund the amount of Rs.2,05,000/- , along with damages of Rs.50,000/-, i.e., Rs,2,55,000/- in all along with interest @18% per annum payable from 06.12.2004 till payment of the entire amount.

(bold added)

[Source: Kusum Agarwal vs. Harsha Associates (P) Ltd. decided by SC on October 12, 2017]

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