Class Action: How many number of buyers can file suit at NCDRC? by Kapil Chandana [Legal Advice]


These days NCDRC is entertaining petition under section 12(1)(c) (class action petition) of the consumer protection act-1986, wherein joint petition can be filed on behalf of innocent consumers.

Pre-Requisites
·         All the buyers are affected by same cause.
·         Same relief is sought by the all buyers.
·         There are number of buyers, Grievance related to same project.
·         No default on part of buyers.
·         All payment made
If all the above conditions are fulfilled the complaint is eligible for one under 12(1)(c) of the consumer protection act

About Complaint

As per the judgement of Ambrish Kumar Shukla v. Ferrous Infrastructures Pvt. Ltd. (CC No. 97 of 2016) [PDF]
A complaint under Section 12 (1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act can be filed only on behalf of or for the benefit of all the consumers, having a common interest or a common grievance and seeking the same / identical relief against the same person. Such a complaint however, shall not be deemed to have been filed on behalf of or for the benefit of the consumers who have already filed individual complaints before the requisite permission in terms of Section 12(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act is accorded.

Therefore the prayer clause have to be drafted keeping in mind that it is for the benefit for all the consumers or else the complaint will be rejected.
The content of the complaint must also not be a single party centric it should speak for all the consumers.
After the complaint is admitted in the forum any consumers who wish to proceed against the builder can file an individual application for impleadment with affidavit.

More than one complaints under Section 12(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act are not maintainable on behalf of or for the benefit of consumers having the same interest i.e. a common grievance and seeking the same / identical against the same person. In case more than one such complaints have been instituted, it is only the complaint instituted first under Section 12(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act, with the requisite permission of the Consumer Forum, which can continue and the remaining complaints filed under Section 12(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act are liable to be dismissed with liberty to join in the complaint instituted first with the requisite permission of the Consumer Forum.

Kapil Chandna is Advocate practicing at Delhi High Court and Supreme  Court of India. He can be reached at [email protected]. He also writes blog posts for his website kapilchandna.legal

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