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Consumer complaint allowed against builder by allottee: Supreme Court

An appeal was made to this court under section 23 of the Consumer Protection act of 1986 against a common judgement passed by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi. It was challenged on the grounds that the apartment was booked for commercial purposes, the respondents would not come within the definition of the “the consumer” under section 2 (d) of the Consumer Protection Act and the reference was made to the facts that the project had been registered under RERA Act. This court passed a remarkable judgement on this case M/S Imperia Structures Ltd. Versus Anil Patni and Others. [Civil Appeal No.- 3581 of 2020] which was headed by the Hon’ble Justice Uday Umesh Lalit.

The issue raised was that after a period of four years of paying the sum which was asked for, the project was not yet completed. The complains were allowed by the commission which granted relief of refund of the deposited amount by every complaints charging a simple interest pf 9% per annum towards costs.

In order to provide remedial action available under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, the court relied on the judgement stating whether the remedies available would be additional remedies or not in the case of Secretary, Thirumurugan Cooperative Agricultural Credit Society vs. M. Lalitha (dead) through LRs. and others stating that “11. From the Statement of Objects and Reasons and the scheme of the 1986 Act, it is apparent that the main objective of the Act is to provide for better protection of the interest of the consumer and for that purpose to provide for better redressal, mechanism through which cheaper, easier, expeditious and effective redressal is made available to consumers. To serve the purpose of the Act, various quasi-judicial forums are set up at the district, State and national level with wide range of powers vested in them. These quasi-judicial forums, observing the principles of natural justice, are empowered to give relief of a specific nature and to award, wherever appropriate, compensation to the consumers and to impose penalties for non-compliance with their orders. 12.”

The court held that the remedies available under the provisions of the CP Act are additional remedies over and above the other remedies including those made available under any special statutes; and that the availability of an alternate remedy is no bar in entertaining a complaint under the CP Act.”

The court stated that “Section 100 of 2019 Act is akin to Section 3 of the CP Act and Section 107 saves all actions taken or purported to have been taken under the CP Act. It is significant that Section 100 is enacted with an intent to secure the remedies under 2019 Act dealing with protection of the interests of Consumers, even after the RERA Act was brought into force.”

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