Can a consumer complaint be filed in Civil Court? What are the contents to be added in a complaint for consumer protection?

Yes, a consumer can file a suit in Civil Court. As per Section 3 of the Act, remedy under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is in addition to other remedies provided under other Acts unless there is a clear bar. The object of the Act itself states that it is enacted for better protection and so it is a supplementary to the existing laws. The Supreme Court in Secretary, Thirumurugan Co-operative Agricultural Credit Society vs. M. Lalitha & Ors. (2004) 1 SCC 305, held that provisions are to be interpreted broadly, positively and purposefully to give meaning to additional/extended jurisdiction, particularly when Section 3 seeks to provide remedy under the Act in addition to other remedies provided under other Acts unless there is a clear bar. A Bench of three learned Judges of Supreme Court In Fair Air Engineers Pvt. Ltd. and Anr. v. N.K. Modi, (1996) 6 SCC 385, held that “On the question of jurisdiction it is stated that the forums under the Act have jurisdiction to entertain a complaint despite the fact that other forums/courts would also have jurisdiction to adjudicate upon the lis. It is also noticed that the Act provides for a further safeguard to the effect that in the event a complaint involves complicated issues requiring recording of evidence of experts, the complainant would be at liberty to approach the civil court for appropriate relief.” In M/S Hindustan Motors Ltd. vs Amardeep Singh Wirk & Ors., the Delhi High Court 161(2009) DLT88(DB) held that “there is no room for any doubt that proceedings under the Consumer Protection Act and in a Civil Court can simultaneously go on, even if the issues involved in the two proceedings are substantially similar. The remedies are independent of each other. The existence of parallel or other adjudicatory Forums cannot take away or exclude the jurisdiction created under the Consumer Protection Act.”

Section 12 of the Act states that the complaint related to any defective goods sold or services can be filed in a simple way, not required any legal procedure. The complaint must consists of the particulars such as name, description, and address of the complainant and Opposite Party or parties, facts of the case in detail with cause of action, list of exhibits to support the facts and claim, and relief to be mentioned.  The Complaint has to be signed by the Complainant before filing.

by Adv. Anitha Gutti