In the matter of K A Nagamani v. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and Anr, the Petitioner had filed a Writ Petition against the order passed by the NCDRC admitting the review petition against an appeal in execution proceedings before the District Forum. The primary question that needed adjudication, before the Hon’ble Justice Vibhu Bakhru, was as follows:
Whether a Revision Petition under Section 21 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is maintainable against an order passed by the State Commission in an appeal preferred against an order of the District Forum with regard to enforcing the orders passed in respect of the consumer complaint?”
The Petitioner relied upon the decision of the Full Bench of the Andhra Pradesh in Guntupalli Rama Subbayya v. Guntupalli Rajamma: AIR 1988 AP 226, wherein the Court had held that execution proceedings could not be considered as a continuation of suit. The Petitioner also relied on the decision of the Full Bench of the Patna High Court in Masomat Narmada Devi and Anr. v. Ram Nandan Singh and Ors.: AIR 1987 Patna 33 in support of its contention. In response, the Respondent No 2 submitted that the proceedings for enforcement of the decision of the Supreme Court in the complaint filed by the petitioner was also an extension of a consumer dispute and, therefore, NCDRC would have the jurisdiction to exercise its revisional powers under Section 21(b) of the Act. He relied on the decision Supreme Court in Dokku Bhushayya v. Katragadda Ramakrishnayya & Others: (1963) 2 SCR 499 in support of the contention that proceedings in execution of a decree were extension of the suit. He also relied on the decisions of the Bombay High Court in Satguru Construction Co. Pvt. Ltd. & Others v. Greater Bombay Co-Operative Bank Ltd.: 2007 (3) M.h.L.J 843; and Raghunath R. Shingate v. Jayant Gajanan Pathak and Others: 2011 (6) M.h.L.J 799 and decision of the Patna High Court in M/s Parshava Properties Ltd. v. A. K. Bose: AIR 1979 Pat 308, wherein the Courts had observed that execution proceedings were continuation of the suit.
However, after reviewing the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act especially Section 17 (Jurisdiction of State Commission), 19 (Appeals) and 21 (Jurisdiction of National Commission) as well as 25 (Enforcement of orders), the High Court observed that the jurisdiction of the NCDRC was limited to calling for records and passing appropriate orders in any “consumer dispute” which may either be pending or has been decided by the State Commission. Furthermore, it opined that:
“33. The nature of execution proceedings is materially different from the nature of the proceedings for adjudication of the complaint. The said proceedings are independent proceedings. As noticed above, the consumer dispute culminates in the findings of the District Forum. As indicated by the opening sentence of Section 14(1) of the Act, the said order is passed ―after the proceedings conducted under Section 13. Thus, insofar as the consumer dispute is concerned, it stands determined by an order passed under Section 14 of the Act. Orders passed for execution of any order passed under Section 14 would plainly not be an orders ―in a consumer dispute.”
On this observation, the High Court upheld the contentions of the Petitioner and set aside the order of the NCDRC which had admitted the review petition stating that “Any orders passed for enforcement of orders passed by the District Forum, State Commission or NCRDC cannot be construed as orders passed in a consumer dispute ‘that stands finally adjudicated’.”
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