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Filing of ‘Class Action’ Consumer Complaints

Do you have a complaint against goods and services of a particular product or do you wish to complaint against your real estate agent. But if more than one or more consumers have the same complaints, it should be a class action complaint rather than individual complaint. As per section 12 (1) (c) of  Consumer Protection Act, 1986 a complaint can be filed by one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest, with the permission of the District Forum, on behalf of, or for the benefit of, all consumers so interested.
If for instance, 100 flat buyers/plot buyers in a project have a common grievance against the builder/Developer and a complaint under Section 12(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act is filed on behalf of or for the benefit of 10 of them, the primary purpose behind permitting a class action will not be achieved. This is because the remaining 90 aggrieved persons will be compelled either to file individual complaints or to file complaints on behalf of or for the benefit of the different group of purchasers in the same project.
The use of the words “all consumers so interested” and “on behalf of or for the benefit of all consumers so interested”, in Section 12(1)(c)(d) leaves no doubt that such a complaint must necessarily be filed on behalf of or for the benefit of all the persons having a common grievance, seeking a common relief and consequently having a community of interest against the same service provider.
Read further about Ambrish Kumar Shukla and others v. Ferrous Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., where the NCDRC (National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) interpreted that class action complaint is maintainable against the complainant company if the cause of action is same for all the consumers and Rameshwar Prasad Shrivastava and Ors. Vs. Dwarkadhis Projects Pvt. Ltd. and Ors., where Supreme Court held that for filing ‘class action’ consumer complaints u/s 12(1)(c) notice under order 1 rule 8(2) CPC is mandatory.

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Divya Patwal


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