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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Whether Consumer Forums will entertain electricity cases or not now onwards..Important decision of the Supreme Court India.

Since 12/12/2012 Apex court have directed  the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission/State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission/ and District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forums not to take up any cases filed against electricity suppliers or service providers till a legendary case filed before the apex court are to be decided at once which comprises a list of cases on various service providers.
This decision created havoc in the lower courts as new cases could not be filed because of the direction and many people worried about their limitation will be over till the decision comes out and they will be having lot of problems convincing the lower courts about their no fault for this delay in filing the case neither the forums were able to admit the cases in view of such directions and all the pending cases were also been haulted for this decision and direction.

Now to a great relief the final disposal of the case is done and here I am presenting the orders of the case and not the entire case but extract of only the orders given by the apex court while deciding the case...

                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CIVIL APPEAL NO.  5466  OF 2012
                  (arising out of SLP(C)No.35906  of 2011)



ANIS AHMAD                                         ... RESPONDENT


C.A.No. 5467-5468 of 2012 (@ SLP(C) No. 18284-18285 of 2008)

C.A.No. 5469  of 2012 (@ SLP(C) No.14306 of 2009)

C.A.No.  5470 of 2012 (@ SLP(C) No.33557 of 2011)

C.A.No. 5471 of 2012 ( @ SLP(C) No.33558 of 2011)

C.A.No. 5472 of 2012 ( @ SLP(C) No.33559 of 2011)

C.A.No. 5473 of 2012 ( @ SLP(C) No.33560 of 2011)

C.A.No.  5474 of 2012( @ SLP(C) No.33561 of 2011)

C.A.No. 5475  of 2012 ( @ SLP(C) No.33562 of 2011)


The questions involved in these appeals  are;  a)  whether  complaints
filed by the respondents before the Consumer  Forum  constituted  under  the
Consumer  Protection  Act,  1986  were  maintainable  and;  b)  whether  the
Consumer Forum  has  jurisdiction  to  entertain  a  complaint  filed  by  a
consumer or any person against the assessment made under Section 126 of  the
Electricity Act, 2003 or action taken under  Sections  135  to  140  of  the
Electricity Act, 2003.
2.    The  National  Consumers  Disputes  Redressal  Commission,  New  Delhi
(hereinafter referred to as the 'National Commission') by impugned  majority
judgment (of President and one Member) dated 10th April, 2008  observed  and
held as follows:
           "x x x x x x x x
           For the  reasons  stated  below,  in  our  view,  the  aforesaid
           questions can be answered as under:
              i) In case of final assessment order passed under Section  126
                 of the Electricity Act, if a consumer is aggrieved, he  can
                 file complaint under the Consumer Protection Act.  However,
                 it is his option  to  file  complaint  under  the  Consumer
                 Protection Act or to file Appeal under Section 127  of  the
                 Electricity Act.

             ii) Further, against the final order passed  by  the  Appellant
                 Authority under Section 127  of  the  Electricity  Act,  no
                 complaint can be entertained by the Consumer Fora........


47.    In view of the observation made above, we hold that:
      (i)   In case of inconsistency between the Electricity Act,  2003  and
      the  Consumer  Protection  Act,  1986,  the  provisions  of   Consumer
      Protection Act will prevail, but ipso  facto  it  will  not  vest  the
      Consumer Forum with the power to redress any dispute  with  regard  to
      the matters which do not come  within  the  meaning  of  "service"  as
      defined under Section 2(1)(o) or "complaint"as defined  under  Section
      2(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
      (ii)  A "complaint" against the assessment made by  assessing  officer
      under Section 126 or against the offences committed under Sections 135
      to 140 of the Electricity Act,  2003  is  not  maintainable  before  a
      Consumer Forum.
      (iii) The Electricity Act, 2003 and the Consumer Protection Act,  1986
      runs parallel for giving redressal to any person, who falls within the
      meaning of "consumer" under Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection
      Act, 1986 or  the  Central  Government  or  the  State  Government  or
      association of consumers but it is limited to the dispute relating  to
      "unfair trade practice" or a "restrictive trade  practice  adopted  by
      the service provider"; or "if the consumer suffers from deficiency  in
      service"; or "hazardous service"; or "the service provider has charged
      a price in excess of the price fixed by or under any law".

48.   For the reasons as mentioned above, we have no hesitation  in  setting
aside the orders passed by the National Commission.   They  are  accordingly
set aside.  All the appeals  filed  by  the  service  provider-licensee  are
allowed, however, no order as to costs.

 so if you are interested to get the case law you can very well visit the supreme courts website and download the decision as it is available for public.

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