New Delhi, Mar 18 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today set aside the order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) by which it had directed a complainant to file its case before appropriate authority as the amount of damages claimed was below its enhanced pecuniary jurisdiction, according to the provisions of the new Consumer Protection Act which came into force from July 20, 2020.
The division bench of Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah said, “One can imagine the serious hardship that would be caused to the consumers if cases which have been already instituted before the NCDRC were required to be transferred to the SCDRCs as a result of the alteration of pecuniary limits by the Act of 2019.
In November 2011, the appellant, Neena Aneja and another, had paid an advance of Rs 3.5 lakh for a residential unit of 114.27 square metres in Krescent Homes, Jaypee Greens, Noida developed by respondent Jai Prakash Associates Ltd. The total cost was fixed at Rs 56.45 lakh and possession was to be given in a period of 42 months from the execution of the agreement of the provisional allotment letter. The appellants stated that from December 2011 till date, they have paid Rs 53.84 lakh of the total Rs 56.45 lakh.
On June 13, 2017 and April 27, 2020, the appellant sought a refund of the consideration with interest at 18 per cent. On June 18, 2020, the appellants instituted a consumer complaint before the NCDRC for refund with interest. The complaint was dismissed by an order dated July 30, 2020 for want of pecuniary jurisdiction. In the present case, the claim of Rs 2.19 crore is below the enhanced pecuniary jurisdiction of the NCDRC.
A single-member Bench of the NCDRC held that following the enforcement of the Act of 2019 on July 20, 2020, the limits of its pecuniary jurisdiction stands enhanced from Rs 1 crore to Rs 10 crore and the complaint instituted by the appellants is consequently not maintainable. The appellants instituted a petition seeking a review of the order. The review petition was dismissed on October 5, 2020 leading to the institution of the appeal before the Supreme Court. ILNS/SNG/JR