M/s. Daddy’s Builders Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Manisha Bhargava

Case Number: Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No. 1240 of 2021

Judges Name: Hon’ble Judges Dr. Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud J, M.R. Shah J

Order dated: 11.02.2021

 

“Consumer forum has no jurisdiction and/or power to accept the written statement beyond the period of 45 days.”

 

Facts of the Case:

  • M/s. Daddy’s Builders Pvt. Ltd filed the application seeking condonation of delay in filing the written statement/written version to the consumer complaint. The Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission rejected the application seeking condonation of delay by M/s. Daddy’s Builders Pvt. Ltd. Aggrieved by the order of the State commission, appeal was filed before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi. By the order 04.09.2020, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi confirmed the order of the State Commission. Hence the Special leave petition was filed before the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court held:

  • The Court held that whether the date on which the State Commission passed the order, then on that date, whether the State Commission has the power to condone the delay beyond 45 days for filing the written statement under Section 13 of the Act is concerned, as such, the said issue whether the State Commission has the power to condone the delay beyond 45 days is now not res integra in view of the Constitution Bench decision of this Court in the case of New India Assurance Company Limited v. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage Pvt. Ltd. reported in (2020) 5 SCC 757. 
  • The Court observed that the said judgment shall be applicable prospectively and therefore the said decision shall not be applicable to the complaint which was filed prior to the said judgment and/or the said decision shall not be applicable to the application for condonation of delay filed before the said decision. 
  • The Court further held that as per the decision of this Court in the case of J.J. Merchant v. Shrinath Chaturvedi, reported in (2002) 6 SCC 635, which was a three Judge Bench decision, consumer forum has no power to extend the time for filing a reply/written statement beyond the period prescribed under the Act. A contrary view was taken by a two Judge Bench in the above-mentioned case, it was referred to five judge bench. The five-judge bench reiterated that the consumer forum has no power and/or jurisdiction to accept the written statement beyond the statutory period prescribed under the Act, i.e., 45 days in all. 
  • Therefore, the Supreme Court held that consumer forum has no jurisdiction and/or power to accept the written statement beyond the period of 45 days and dismissed the Special leave petition.
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