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Consumer Forum & Complaints in India

“Consumer” meaning in India

As per Section 2 (d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, a “consumer” means any person who –

  1. buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such use is made with the approval of such person, but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose; or
  2. [hires or avails of] any services for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who (hires or avails of) the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned person (but does not include a person who avails of such services for any commercial purpose).

In India the Consumer Complaint may be filed before the special purpose courts explained below.

Structure of Consumer Courts in India

CONSUMER COURTS

With an aim to deal with cases pertaining to grievances and disputes, these special purpose courts were established in India.

DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM (DCDRF)

It works at the district level with cases having pecuniary value of upto Rupees twenty lakh.

STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION (SCDRC)

It works at the state level with cases having pecuniary value upto Rupees one crore.

It has Appellate jurisdiction over the District Forum.

NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION (NCDRC)

It is the Apex body that works for the whole country with cases having pecuniary value above Rupees one crore. Additionally, it is the highest Appellate Court in the hierarchy.

Pecuniary Jurisdiction of the Consumer Forums in India

The Pecuniary Jurisdiction of the Consumer Forums is as follows:

  1. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum: Subject to the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1999, the District Forum shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and the compensation, if any, claimed does not exceed Rs. 20 Lac.
  2. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: The State Commission has the jurisdiction to entertain the Complaints where the value of goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds Rs. 20 Lac but does not exceed Rs. 1 crore.
  3. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: The jurisdiction of National Commission extends to Complaints where the value of goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds Rs. 1 cr.

However, as per the Proposed Amendments to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the pecuniary jurisdiction is proposed to be revised which is as follows:

  1. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum: The jurisdiction of the District Forum is proposed to increase from Rs. 20 Lac to Rs. 1 cr.
  2. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: As per the proposed amendment, the State Jurisdiction shall be able to entertain Complaints whose value is minimum Rs. 1 cr but does not exceed 10 cr.
  3. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: The National Commission, under the proposed amendment, shall be able to entertain Complaints valued above Rs. 10 cr.

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To know more about Consumer Laws in India, click on the link below:

Consumer Protection

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