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CONSUMER COMMISSION PROCEDURE

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CONSUMER COMMISSION PROCEDURE
By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN
August 21, 2020
All Articles by: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN       View Profile
  • Contents

Consumer Commission

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 provides for the constitution of the following Consumer Commissions-

  • District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission;
  • State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission;
  • National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

Regulations

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, with the previous approval of the Central Government made ‘The Consumer Protection (Consumer Commission Procedure) Regulations, 2020 vide Notification No. F.No. A-105/CCPR/NCRDC/2020, dated 24.07.2020’ which is in supersession Consumer Protection Regulations, 2005.  These Regulations came into effect from 24.07.2020.

Procedure

The Regulations provide the uniform procedure to be adopted in resolving the dispute of a consumer before any of the Commission.

Hall of the Commission

The Commission is not a court.  To show the Commission distinct from a Court the Commission will have a hall for having all the proceedings of the Commission.  The dais may not be more than 30 cms in height than the place earmarked for the parties to occupy.  The dais will be occupied by the President and Members of the Commission.  The complainant may appear himself or through authorized representative.

Dress Code

The Regulations provide for the dress code to be adopted by the President and Members of the Commissions as well as by the parties to the complaint, Counsels or agents.  The President and Members and other parties during the time of hearing shall wear simple and sober dress.  They shall not wear flashy dress or dress displaying any affluence, jeans or T-shirts.  The President and Members shall not wear such dress as may be prescribed for Judges of the High Court of District Court.

Filing complaints/appeals/revision

  • Where a Complaint is filed in the District Commission, it shall be filed in three sets with additional sets equal to the number of opposite parties.
  • Where the Complaint or Appeal or Revision petition is filed before the State Commission, it shall be filed in three sets or such number of sets as may be decided by the President of the State Commission from time to time, with approval of the President of the National Commission, with additional sets equal to the number of opposite parties or respondents.
  • Where a Complaint or Appeal or Revision Petition is filed in the National Commission, it shall be filed in two sets and the sets for the Opposite parties or respondents shall be filed within a week of admission of such case or issuance of notice to the opposite parties.

Limitation

The complaint shall be filed before the Consumer Commission concerned within 2 years from the date on which the cause of action has arisen.    The concerned Consumer Commission may allow a complaint if it is filed after the limitation period, if it is satisfied that the delay is beyond the control of the complainant.  In such cases the Consumer Commission shall records the reasons for delay condonation.

Scrutiny

  • Every complaint, appeal, or revision petition shall after it is filed be numbered by the Registrar.
  • If there is any defect in the filing of the complaint, appeal or revision petition, the particulars of such defects shall be recorded and the party or his agents shall be informed of the defects asking them for removing the defects within 15 days.
  • In case the party disputes the correctness of the defects pointed out, the matter shall be placed before the Consumer Commission for appropriate orders.
  • After the expiry of the time given, the matter shall, irrespective of the fact as to whether the defects have been removed or not, be placed before the Consumer Commission for appropriate orders.
  • If the objections raised by the Registrar are substantial and are not removed within the time allowed for the purpose, those days shall not be excluded for counting the period of limitation.
  • The admissibility of the complaint shall ordinarily be decided within 21 days from the date on which the complaint is received.
  • In case any defect is pointed out by the Registrar, twenty-one days shall commence from the date on which such defect was removed.
  • All pending complaints, appeals and revision petitions which have not come up for admission till the date of commencement of these regulations and are pending for admission for more than 21days shall be listed immediately by the Consumer Commission for admission and not later than 21 days from the date of commencement of these regulation,

Nomenclature

The following is the nomenclature to be given to complaints, appeals etc.-

  • Consumer complaint – C.C. No.     /202__
  • Appeal – F.A. No.       /202___
  • Revision petition – R.P.No.      /202___
  • Execution Application – E.A. No.      /202__
  • Appeal in execution – A.E.  No.       /202___
  • Transfer application – T.A. No.       /202___
  • Review Application – R.A. No.      /202___
  • Interim application – I.A. No.        /202___
  • Miscellaneous application – M.A.No.      /202___.

Issue of notice

  • A notice, in respect of complaint/appeal/revision, shall be issued to the opposite parties for a period of 30 days; if circumstances warrant the notice period may be less than 30 days.
  • When there is a question of raising presumption of service, thirty days’ notice shall be required.
  • The notice if sent by courier it should be ensured that the courier is a reputed one.
  • In case courier is engaged for issuing notice, security deposit should be collected from the courier.
  • Along with the notice, copies of the complaint, memorandum of grounds of appeal or petition, as the case may be, and other documents filed shall be served upon the opposite party or respondent.
  • After the opposite party or respondent has put in appearance, no application or document shall be received by the Registrar unless it bears an endorsement that a copy thereof has been served upon the other side.

Cause list

  • Tentative Cause List of cases to be heard by the Consumer Commission in the following entire week shall be made ready before the close of the working hours of the preceding week and displayed on the notice board and shall also be hosted on the website of the Consumer Commission.
  • The Final Cause List of cases to be heard on the following day shall be made ready before the close of the working hours of the preceding day and displayed on the notice board and also hosted on the website.
  • The Cause List shall be split into such different parts as may be decided by the President of the National Commission from time to time.
  • Every cause list shall contain the following particulars, namely-
  • Serial Number;
  • Number of the matter;
  • Names of the parties;
  • Name of the party or counsel or agent appearing.
  • If a date of hearing is given in the presence of parties or their agents, it shall not be a ground for non-appearance for the reason that the cause list for the concerned date does not show the matter or contains incorrect entry or there is omission of the particulars of the matter.

Appearance by voluntary consumer organizations

  • The recognized consumer organizations can appear before the Consumer Commission.
  • An authorization of a Voluntary Consumer Organization may be by way of special power of attorney executed on a non-judicial paper or even on plain paper duly attested by a Gazetted Officer or a Notary Public.
  • The Power of Attorney holder shall be entitled to engage a counsel, if authorized to do so.
  • A Voluntary Consumer Organization can engage a counsel or an advocate of its choice or it can itself represent through one of its office bearers as per the rules governing it.
  • In case of a complaint where the Voluntary Consumer Organization is a complainant along with the consumer himself and the dispute affects the complainant individually, he can withdraw the complaint.
  • If the issue involves unfair trade practice or restrictive trade practice a Voluntary Consumer Organization may continue to proceed with the complaint even if the complainant wishes to withdraw the same.
  • A Consumer Commission has to guard itself from touts and busybodies in the garb of power of attorney holders or unauthorized agents in the proceedings before it.
  • While a Consumer Commission may permit an authorized agent to appear before it, but authorized agent shall not be one who has used this as a profession.  It is not apply to Advocates.
  • An authorized agent may be debarred from appearing before a Consumer Commission if he is found guilty of misconduct or any other malpractice at any time.

Hearing

Where a Bench, constituted by the President of the State Commission or the National Commission does not have a member with judicial background and any complex question of law arises and there is no precedent to decide the law point, the Bench so constituted may refer the matter to the President of the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, to constitute another Bench of which the President shall be a member.

In the hearings arguments may be made by the parties.  The arguments should be brief and to the point.  If the counsel is appointed by the party, the written argument should be submitted two days before the hearing.  In case there is a default in filing written arguments cost may be imposed on such party.

Adjournment

Every proceeding before a Consumer Commission shall be conducted as expeditiously as possible and as per the requirements of the Act.  If any adjournment is given the reasons for giving such adjournment shall be recorded in writing.  Adjournments shall be given only in exceptional circumstances.  The cost may be imposed on the seeker of adjournment.  Such cost shall be payable to the other party or deposited in Consumer Legal Aid account maintained by the respective Consumer Commission.

All orders adjourning the matter shall be signed by the concerned President and members of the Consumer Commission and not by the Court Master or Bench Clerk.

Ex-parte interim order

An application for setting aside the ex-parte order or dismissal of the complaint in default shall be maintainable if filed within 30 days from the date of the order or date of receipt of the order.

If an application for vacating or modifying or discharging the ex parte interim order is filed by any of the parties, it shall be decided within 45 days. The Commission shall have the discretion to extend the ex parte interim order if such application is not decided within 45 days.

Final order

After hearing the parties to the complaint/appeal etc. the concerned Commission shall pass final order.  The said order shall contain the following-

  • On the top of the order the date of filing complaint and date of order are to be mentioned.
  • The cause title of the order shall contain the names of all the parties with their addresses.
  • In the body of the order it is desirable that after mentioning the complainant or the opposite party, their names as shown in the title be mentioned and parties thereafter may not be mentioned as complainant or opposite party No.1 or opposite party No.2, etc.
  • The cause title shall also clearly show if the appellant or respondent was the complainant or opposite party.
  • The order of a Consumer Commission disposing of a matter shall be as short and precise as practicable and unnecessary long quotations from the judgments of the higher courts or otherwise shall be avoided.
  • When a copy of the order is sent to a party, the mode by which it is sent and the date on which it is sent shall be stamped on the last page of the order.
  • The Consumer Commission shall pass final order invariably within 30 days.
  • A copy of the final order is to be given to the parties free of cost as required under the Act and the rules made there under.
  • In case a party requires an extra copy, it shall be issued to him duly certified by the Registry on a payment of ₹ 20/- irrespective of number of pages.
  • A certified copy of an order shall clearly specify the date when free copy was issued, date of application, date when the copy was made ready and the date when it was so delivered to him.
  • Any party desiring to get a certified copy of any document on the file of the Consumer Commission may get the same on payment of certification fee of ₹ 20/- per copy.
  • If any such document of which certified copy is sought, is over and above five pages, an extra amount of one rupee per page shall be charged over and above the fee of ₹ 20/-.
  • Certified copy of any miscellaneous order passed by the Consumer Commission shall be supplied on payment of ₹ 5/-  per copy.

Revision petition

Revision Petition shall be filed within ninety days from the date of receipt of certified copy of the order.  The Commission may condone the delay in filing the review petition after the limitation period if sufficient cause is shown.

Review petition

The review petition is to be filed before the concerned Consumer Commission within 30 days from the date of the order.  The Commission may condone the delay in filing the review petition after the limitation period if sufficient cause is shown.

The Review petition shall set out clearly the grounds for review.   Unless otherwise ordered by the Consumer Commission, an application for review shall be disposed of by circulation without oral arguments, as far as practicable between the same members who had delivered the order sought to be reviewed.

 

By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN - August 21, 2020

 

 

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