The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has stated that consumers seeking compensation worth Rs 1 crore and more or a group of consumers with similar grievances against a builder can now approach the national commission. This judgment will help expedite justice delivery as now consumers can get together and appeal directly to the national commission. At present, consumers have to move the district forum, followed by state commissions and then the national commission. A larger bench of the national commission was interpreting Section 12 (1) (c) of the Consumer Protection Act in October on a reference to an order by a smaller bench in August this year. Though the judgement has been delivered in the context of a real estate case, experts say it will certainly have implications in class action cases. Consumers are generally seen forming associations and moving the consumer forums for redressal of their grievances. The NCRDC, however, stated that a cooperative society or a group of cooperative societies is not entitled to file a complaint under Section 12 (1) (c). The landmark judgement will not only benefit consumers having similar interests and grievances but, will add to their strength while challenging deficiencies in services provided by the powerful builders.
Image source: National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission