NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
(From the order dated 9.4.2001 in complaint Case No.593/92
of the State Commission Delhi)
Smt. Shanti Appellant
M/s. Ansal Housing & Construction Ltd. Respondent
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE D.P. WADHWA,
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE J.K. MEHRA, MEMBER.
MR. B.K. TAIMNI, MEMBER
Jurisdiction - clause in the agreement limiting the jurisdiction - inapplicable in a complaint under the Consumer Forum.
For the Appellant : Mr. Ashok Bhalla, Advocate
For the Respondent : Mr. Satish Kumar, Avocate.
O R D E R
DATED THE 11th April, 2002.
JUSTICE D.P. WADHWA, J.(PRESIDENT).
This appeal is directed against the order dated 9.4.2001 of the Delhi Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission non suiting the appellant on a preliminary issue holding that Delhi State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission will have no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.
What led the State Commission to pass this order was clause 24 of the agreement for allotment of residential flat to the appellant. It is stated that any dispute arising out of this agreement shall be subject to jurisdiction of Lucknow courts only. State Commission also relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of A.B.C.
Laminart Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. Vs. A.P. Agencies, Salem - AIR 1989 SC 1239 to hold that only the courts in Lucknow would have jurisdiction.
We do not think State Commission examined the whole issue in a pragmatic manner. Complainant is a consumer and raised a consumer dispute under the Consumer protection Act, 1986. To help and assist a consumer and to achieve the objects of the Act, Section 11 of the Act was amended. This Section relates to the jurisdiction of the District Forum. Now a complaint could be filed against the opposite party not only at the place where he actually or voluntarily reside or personally works for gain but also where he carries on business or has branch office. The words carries on business or has a branch office were added by the amending Act of 1993. Jurisdiction of a District Forum is exclusively covered by Section 11 of the Act. For this we do not have to refer any provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure. Any provision of the agreement which oust the jurisdiction of a District Forum even from a place where the opposite party has a branch office cannot be held to be valid or binding. Moreover, the clause on which the complainant was non-suited refers to the jurisdiction of Lucknow Courts. District Forum is not a court as understood in the Code of Civil Procedure. That clause in the agreement will have no meaning as far as jurisdiction of the District Forum where the opposite party has even branch office is concerned.
National Commission has already taken a view on this aspect of the matter. Accordingly the impugned order of the State Commission is set aside and the matter is remanded to the State Commission to decide the complaint in accordance with law. Party
shall appear before the State Commission on 8.7.2002 for further directions. This appeal is disposed of as above.