NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
Smt. Babita Aggarwal & Ors. Complainants
Dr. S.K. Goel Opposite Party
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE D.P. WADHWA,
MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO, MEMBER.
MR. B.K. TAIMNI, MEMBER.
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE K.S. GUPTA, MEMBER.
Amendment to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 amendment by the Amending Act, 2002 coming into force on 15th march, 2003 question if National Commission has jurisdiction to try complaints where value of the complaint filed earlier to 15.3.20003 is less than Rs.1.00 crore held Amending Act is prospective in nature cases filed before 15th March, 2003 would be amenable to jurisdiction of the National Commission.
For the complainants : Mr. Anil Karnwal, Advocate
Amicus Curiae Dr. Rajeev Dhavan, Senior Advocate
Mrs. Pankaj Balaa Varma, and
Ms. Ashta Tyagi, Advocates .
O R D E R
During the course of hearing of this complaint wherein there is a claim for an amount of about Rs.25.00 lakhs a question was raised whether National Commission would continue to entertain such a complaint where the value is less than Rs.1.00 crore. This question arise in view of the amendment to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 as amended by the Amendment Act of 2002. Since the question raised is of importance and as divergent views have been expressed by the Presidents of the State Commissions in a meeting held on 16.3.2003, it was thought appropriate to give authoritative opinion by the National Commission.
We requested Dr. Rajiv Dhavan to assist us in the matter. Ms.. Astha Tyagi, Advocate and consultant of this Commission was asked to provide necessary assistance to Dr. Dhavan, from the records of this Commission. Similar request was also made to Mrs. Pankaj Bala Varma, Advocate. Ms. Astha Tyagi and Ms. Pankaj Bala Varma shall be paid Rs.2,500/- each as out of pocket expenses by the President, NCDRC Bar Association.
Today we have heard detailed arguments. Views have been expressed by both sides. After examining the various authorities and earlier decision of this Commission in the case of Premier Automobiles Ltd. vs. Dr. Manoj Ramachandran and Others, decided on 21st December, 1993, we are of the opinion that the Amendment Act has to be construed prospectively. Due to urgency of the matter we are passing short order. Detailed reasons will follow. It is thus made clear that the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act, 2002 is prospective in nature. Complaints which have already been filed before the State Commissions and the National Commission shall continue to be heard and disposed of by respective State Commissions and the National Commission in accordance with Law.
A copy of this order shall be transmitted by the Registry to all the State Commissions immediately by Fax.
Further hearing in this complaint stands adjourned to 4.4.2002.
( D.P. WADHWA)