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Top Ten Judgments Of 2019

The new Consumer Protection Act of 2019 has finally seen the light of the day by replacing the old Act of 1986. Lot has been done in 2019 in Consumer Law. Well, the Act has been modified to strengthen the Consumer Law. It is the case laws where court/commission interprets relevant sections and protects the interest of the consumers. In 2019, new interpretations by the Supreme Court and National Commission have specifically advanced consumer interests in consumer law.

Consumer VOICE Legal Desk has curated a list of top ten judgments delivered by the Supreme Court and National Commission in 2019 in favour of the consumers. Each judgment will have an impact on consumer interest in future years.

  1. Homebuyers Can Now Approach Consumer Courts and Be Part Of Insolvency Proceedings

    In The Supreme Court of India Civil Original/Appellate Jurisdiction Writ Petition (Civil) No. 43 Of 2019
    Bench: Justices R.F. Nariman, Sanjiv Khanna and Surya Kant
    Decided On: August 9th, 2019
    Pioneer Urban Land and Infrastructure Limited & Anr. Vs. Union of India & Ors

    The Supreme Court in a bunch of appeals held that RERA is to be read harmoniously with the Insolvency Code as in the Amendment Act. It is only in the event of conflict that the Code will prevail over RERA. Remedies that are given to flat allottees are therefore concurrent remedies. Such allottees of flats/apartments were in a position to avail of remedies under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and RERA and the Code. Thus as per the Supreme Court, the homebuyers can pursue remedy under the Insolvency code, RERA as well as Consumer Protection Act. Read More

  1. Homebuyers cannot be made to wait indefinitely for possession: NCDRC

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission New Delhi Consumer Case No. 1315 Of 2018
Bench: J R.K. Agrawal, President and M. Shreesha, Member
Decided On: 6th September, 2019
Alok Kumar Vs M/S. Golden Peacock Residency

The National Commission in a case has directed a real estate developer, Golden Peacock Residency Private Limited to refund over Rs 4 crore along with interest to its customer and said that the homebuyer cannot be made to wait indefinitely for possession of the unit. The construction of the said home is yet to be completed even after a lapse of more than 6 years from the date of booking. The commission awarded the homebuyer interest on the principal amount after noting that he had taken a loan from a bank for buying the apartment and had undergone ‘mental agony’ and ‘monetary loss’ as the developers failed to deliver possession of the flat. It also directed the developer to pay Rs 25,000 to the consumer towards litigation costs. Read More

  1. Supreme Court clears air on class action suit

    Civil Appeal No. 1676 Of 2019
    Bench:Justices Arun Mishra & Uday Umesh Lalit
    Decided On: 10th May, 2019
    Anjum Hussain Vs Intellicity Business Park Pvt Ltd

    In this case, the application was dismissed by the NCDRC (National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) holding that the class action under section 12(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act, all complainants should be treated as one. The idea behind the class action is to fast track the dispute in which a large number of consumers are interested, instead of having each of them file individual complaints. It is necessary that such a complaint is filed on behalf of or for the benefit of all the persons having such a community of interest. Read More

  1. Homebuyers can’t be forced to accept delayed projects: NCDRC

In The Supreme Court of India Civil Appellate Jurisdiction Civil Appeal No. 12238 Of 2018
Bench: Justices Uday Umesh Lalit & Indu Malhotra
Decided On: April 2nd, 2019
Pioneer Urban Land & Infrastructure Ltd. vs. Govindan Raghavan

In a remarkable judgment, the Supreme Court recently held that one-sided clauses in the Apartment Buyer’s Agreement constitute unfair trade practice and such terms cannot bind the flat-purchaser. In this case, the purchaser refused to take the possession due to the inordinate delay of almost 3 years. He already took an alternate property and was no longer interested in taking possession. The Apex Court upheld the decision of the National Forum and said that the Purchaser was justified in terminating the Apartment Buyer's Agreement by filing a consumer Complaint. Read More

  1. Purchaser of Goods for Commercial Purpose is a consumer of used for earning livelihood

In The Supreme Court of India Civil Appellate Jurisdiction Civil Appeal Nos.9004-9005/2018
Bench: Justices Uday Umesh Lalit, Indira Banerjee & M.R. Shah
Decided On: October 1st, 2019
Sunil Kohli vs. M/S. Purearth Infrastructure Ltd

 In this judgement, the Supreme Court reiterated the definition of “consumer” by stating that the buyer of goods for business purpose is consumer if he uses it himself for earning his livelihood. The several words employed in the explanation, viz., “uses them by himself”, “exclusively for the purpose of earning his livelihood” and “by means of self-employment” make the intention of Parliament abundantly clear, that the goods bought must be used by the buyer himself, by employing himself for earning his livelihood. Read More

  1. Dismissal of consumer complaints on mere technical grounds, defeats the purpose of ensuring justice: Supreme Court

In The Supreme Court of India Civil Appellate Jurisdiction Civil Appeal No. 4767 Of 2019
Bench: Justices Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud & Hemant Gupta
Decided On: May 10th, 2019
Vibha Bakshi Gokhale vs. Gruhashilp Constructions

The Supreme Court in this instance observed that dismissal of consumer complaints on mere technical grounds only add to the burden of litigation and defeat the purpose of ensuring justice. The purpose which Parliament sought to achieve by setting up the NCDRC is to protect the rights of consumers to seek access to justice under the Consumer Protection Act 1986. Read More

  1. Consumer Fora have the jurisdiction to deal with the legality of the Statutory Fees imposed by the Statutory Authorities : Supreme Court

Civil Appellate Jurisdiction SLP (C) NO. 4272 of 2015
Bench: Justices N.V. Ramana, Mohan M. Shantanagoudar & Ajay Rastogi
Decided On: 16th September, 2019
Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (Now GLADA) Vs. Vidya Chetal

The Hon’ble Supreme overruled the judgment in HUDA vs. Sunita (2005) 2 SCC 479 and held that the Consumer Fora have the jurisdiction to deal with the legality of the Statutory Fees imposed by the Statutory Authorities.  The Hon’ble Court maintained that though the statutory fees imposed for the welfare activities adventure undertaken by the Government or Statutory Authorities are within the ambit of the Act. Read More

  1. Hospital Vicariously Liable For Medical Negligence Committed By Its Doctors

Civil Appellate Jurisdiction Civil Appeal No. 6619 of 2016 with Civil Appeal No. 9461 of 2019 (Arising out of Diary No. 15393 of 2019)
Bench: Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Indu Malhotra
Decided on: 16th December, 2019
Maharaja Agrasen Hospital & Ors. vs. Master Rishabh Sharma & Ors. with Pooja Sharma & Ors vs. Maharaja Agrasen Hospital & Ors.

In this case, the Supreme Court stated that a hospital is absolutely liable for negligence committed by the doctors responsible for medical care. The Hon’ble Supreme Court, also said that all hospitals, whether Government or private are liable to maintain the medical records, and provide the same to patient or their attendants within 72 hours of the request. This judgement was delivered by the Supreme Court when the complainants approached the Courts saying that the doctors failed to conduct a compulsory checkup of Retinopathy during a pre-term of a premature baby that led to total blindness. Read More

  1. Can A Trust file Consumer Complaint - Supreme Court asks to revisit the matter

In The Supreme Court of India Civil Appellate Jurisdiction Special Leave Petition (Civil) No.18636 Of 2019
Bench: Justices Uday Umesh Lalit & Aniruddha Bose
Decided On: October 4th, 2019
Administrator Smt. Tara Bai Desai Charitable Opthalmic Trust Hospital, Jodhpur Vs. Managing Director Supreme Elevators India Pvt. Ltd & Ors.

In the instant case, the Supreme Court while examining the case if a trust could fall under the ambit of a consumer, stated that a “trust” would not come within the definition of a “consumer” and the issue requires to be revisited and the matter requires re-consideration. In the instant case, the bench doubted the ratio in Pratibha Pratisthan v. Manager, Canara Bank, in which it was held that a trust is not a person and therefore not a consumer and consequently, it cannot be a complainant and cannot file a consumer dispute under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act. Read More

  1. Compensation Cannot be Restrictive because of Poor Background

In The Supreme Court of India Civil Appellate Jurisdiction Civil Appeal No. 2557 Of 2019 (Arising Out Of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 26789 Of 2018)
Bench: Justices Abhay Manohar Sapre and Dinesh Maheshwari
Decided On: 7th March, 2019
Shoda Devi vs. Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital

The Supreme Court in the present case ordered the NCDRC to enhance the compensation to the victim who suffered a case of medical negligence wherein her arm was amputed. In this case, the Supreme Court observed that the compensation should not be restrictive because the victim comes from a poor background. Read More

Divya Patwal


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