Those engaged in speculative commercial activities, such as trading in shares, cannot be treated as consumers.
The South Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum gave this judgment , while dismissing a complaint filed by an online share trader.
Kandivli resident Sushila Sanghavi had sought compensation of Rs4.50 lakh from ICICI Securities contending that deactivating her online trading account amounted to deficiency in service.
“The online trading of shares or securities was carried out for commercial purpose with the intent to make profit,” the bench of forum president SB Dhumal and member SS Patil said. “Therefore, we do not have any doubt that the activities undertaken by the complainant were for commercial purpose and… [she] is not a consumer within ... section 2(I)(d)(ii) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.”
The forum, however, made an exception to the general rule that those engaged in commercial and speculative activities to make profits could be treated as consumers if the activities are means of their livelihood.
Counsel to ICICI Securities, Vijay Kulkarni, argued that the services availed by the complainant were for commercial purpose to earn a profit, and not for livelihood.
He argued that the trading undertaken by the complainant was speculative and services availed for such commercial purpose are not covered by the “definition of consumer” under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The forum accepted his contentions and dismissed the complaint.