Clearing the air over the jurisdiction of local consumer forums in disposing of online deficiency cases, state consumer disputes redressal commission has stated that consumers can very much seek relief from local consumer forums.
The order was passed by state consumer commission president justice Jasbir Singh (retd) following a large number of appeals filed by the companies dealing with e-commerce, contending that only the forum where headquarters of the appellant or company is situated will have territorial jurisdiction to entertain and decide the complaint. According to the law officials, consumers feel reluctant to file a consumer complaint in such cases in order to avoid litigation at faraway places, including Gurgaon and Delhi.
The commission observed that, “If the said contention of the companies is accepted, it will run contrary to the spirit of Consumer Protection Act (CPA)-1986, which provides speedy, hassle-free redressal.”
The commission observed that in case headquarters of a company is located at faraway places and the aforesaid argument of the companies is accepted, it will amount to clogging down the district forum at Gurgaon, as the cost will also rise due to this.
The commission had earlier dismissed a plea of SpiceJet Ltd, Gurgaon, where they had filed an appeal against the order of the Chandigarh Consumer Forum, contending that the Chandigarh forum does not have jurisdiction and the complaint has to be filed in Gurgaon consumer forum. The Chandigarh consumer forum had directed the firm to compensate Rs 1.25 lakh to Ranju Aery, a resident of Sector 19, Chandigarh, for not giving refund for cancellation.