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GMCSL told to file reply by May 2

NATIONAL CONSUMER Disputes Redressal Commission has asked Gujarat Mercantile Credit Sahkarita Limited (GMCSL) chairman O T Gandhi, managing director Janak Gandhi, vice-chairpersons Nagin Bhai Kothari and Dilhar Kumari and directors Narhari Patel, Kirit Bhai Thakur, Himmatlal Badalia, Haroun Bhai and Diwakar Shah to file a reply by May 2, 2006, in response to the complaint filed by Gujarat Mercantile Credit Sahkarita Limited Pidit Sangh.

india Updated: Apr 01, 2006 14:03 IST

NATIONAL CONSUMER Disputes Redressal Commission has asked Gujarat Mercantile Credit Sahkarita Limited (GMCSL) chairman O T Gandhi, managing director Janak Gandhi, vice-chairpersons Nagin Bhai Kothari and Dilhar Kumari and directors Narhari Patel, Kirit Bhai Thakur, Himmatlal Badalia, Haroun Bhai and Diwakar Shah to file a reply by May 2, 2006, in response to the complaint filed by Gujarat Mercantile Credit Sahkarita Limited Pidit Sangh.

The plaint filed under Section 12 (C) of Consumer Protection Act 1986 before the Commission has alleged that GMCSL had not extended promised services due under law or contract to 249 depositors who had invested more than Rs 7 crore in credit cooperative.

Sangh representative D K Chaturvedi, who appeared in person before the Commission this week, maintained that the total deposits on which the services were promised or extendable stood at Rs 136 crore. Charging GMCSL with unfair trade

practices, the plaint said it had discontinued withdrawal of credit interest, payments of medical benefits, matured fixed deposits and Kutumb Sahayak Yojana benefits, proscribed transactions from savings account since January 2005. Besides, the cooperative has stopped consumer store operation, refused information and has made payment to people it wished even as its musclemen pressurised depositors to convert FDs into saving accounts.

The plaint said that GMCSL, which is governed under MP Swayatta Sahkarita Adhiniyam 1999, has not only flouted the provisions of the Act but has defied the directions issued by Madhya Pradesh Registrar, Cooperative Societies, who asked it to refund deposits in November 2005.

The complainant has appealed to the Commission to direct the cooperative to release their dues, including the matured fixed deposits, and make their savings account operational so that they could withdraw money from it. The Sangh has also demanded that the cost and services of Rs 136 crore should be refunded to its members.

The complaint has been filed on the basis of settled law, which says that the status of depositor in a cooperative body was at par with shareholder in a company. It states that no law bars the jurisdiction of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission merely because the law of incorporation of such societies provides a remedy in the form of Cooperative Tribunal and moreover Consumer Protection Act was not derogatory to any such law.