Jurisdiction of Consumer Forums

The consumer Protection act, 1986(CP act) provides mechanisms for quick disposal of consumer complaints; it provides a three tier dispute redressal system which works as per the powers assigned by the CP act. For the purpose of invoking the jurisdiction of any consumer forums, there are certain prerequisites which determine the jurisdictions of these forums which are-:

Subject matter

Before invoking the jurisdiction of any of the consumer forums (i.e. before filing any complaint), The consumer must be sure that his complaint falls within the ambit of CP act and it’s not a civil suit, because consumer forums are vested with them to entertain complaints only pertaining to consumer dispute, therefore first of all a complainant must be a consumer within the definition of section 2d of CP act.

A jeep was purchased to run it as a taxi. The question was whether the buyer of the jeep was a consumer under the Act. The Rajasthan State Commission held that to use the jeep as a taxi with the object to earn profits was a commercial purpose, and therefore, the buyer/user was not a consumer within the meaning of the Act. [Smt. Pushpa Meena v. Shah Enterprises (Rajasthan) Ltd. (1991) 1 CPR 229].

Pecuniary Jurisdiction

When a complainant is a consumer as per the CP act now the focus comes to the contents of his complaint, A consumer can approach any of the three forums as envisaged in the act viz district forum, state commission, National commission.

Now the relief prayed (value of the damages claimed) in the complaint determines which consumer forum jurisdiction is appropriate to hear the complaint of the consumer.

District forum-: District Forum entertains the cases where the value of claim is upto Rs. 5 Lakh. Where a claim exceeds this limit, the matter is beyond the jurisdiction of the Forum.

State Commission-:  Entertains the cases where the value of claim is above Rs. 5 Lakh-upto 20 Lakh.

National Commission-: Entertains the cases where the value of claim is above Rs.20 Lakh.

Territorial Jurisdiction

The CP act does not specifically provides for territorial jurisdiction, which is same as provided in section 20 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.[1]

Appellate and Revision Jurisdiction

Appellate Jurisdiction

Under Section 17(a) (ii) & 23 of CP act an appeal from district forum can be filed within 30 days to the state commission further against the order of State commission, appeal in the National commission can be filed within 30 days.

Revisional Jurisdiction

State and National commission enjoys revisional jurisdiction on any matter pending before it or at the lower forums .This power is available under section 17(b) and section 21(b) of the consumer protection act which revises any gross exercise of powers by the subordinate forums

 

 [1] Section 20 CPC  (a)   the party against whom the claim is made actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain, or

(b)   where there are more than one opposite party, each such party actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain, or

(c)   where there are more than one opposite party, and any such party actually and voluntarily resides or carries on busi­ness or has a branch office or personally works for gain, provid­ed the other parties not so residing or working agrees, or the State Commission gives permission in this regard, or

(d)   The cause of action, wholly or in part, arises.

Pecuniary Jurisdiction

When a complainant is a consumer as per the CP act now the focus comes to the contents of his complaint, A consumer can approach any of the three forums as envisaged in the act viz district forum, state commission, National commission.

Now the relief prayed (value of the damages claimed) in the complaint determines which consumer forum jurisdiction is appropriate to hear the complaint of the consumer.

District forum-: District Forum entertains the cases where the value of claim is upto Rs. 5 Lakh. Where a claim exceeds this limit, the matter is beyond the jurisdiction of the Forum.

State Commission-:  Entertains the cases where the value of claim is above Rs. 5 Lakh-upto 20 Lakh.

National Commission-: Entertains the cases where the value of claim is above Rs.20 Lakh.

Territorial Jurisdiction

The CP act does not specifically provides for territorial jurisdiction, which is same as provided in section 20 of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

Appellate and Revision Jurisdiction

Appellate Jurisdiction

Under Section 17(a) (ii) & 23 of CP act an appeal from district forum can be filed within 30 days to the state commission further against the order of State commission, appeal in the National commission can be filed within 30 days.

Revisional Jurisdiction

State and National commission enjoys revisional jurisdiction on any matter pending before it or at the lower forums .This power is available under section 17(b) and section 21(b) of the consumer protection act which revises any gross exercise of powers by the subordinate forums

, wholly or in part, arises.

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