I want to file a consumer complaint. Please assist me in which court I can file the complaint? What is the pecuniary jurisdiction of the consumer redressal forums?

Under the Consumer Protection Act, State and Central Government established three tier agencies i.e. District Forum, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, National Consumer Disputes  Redressal Commission to enable the consumers to address their grievances about the defective goods, or any unfair trade practices, deficiency services committed by seller/manufacturer/ service provider etc.. The Complaints can be registered in the above forums based on their pecuniary and territorial jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction over the complaint that can be determined based on the value of goods or services and claim amount, up to which the Forum can deal with, be termed as pecuniary jurisdiction.  We can see the pecuniary jurisdiction for the above stated Forums one by one:

District Forum:

This Forum can deal with the cases where the claim amount is up to Rs. 20 Lakh.  If the matter involving the claim amount exceeds such value, then this Forum has no jurisdiction to entertain such complaint, as it is beyond its jurisdiction.  In these cases, value of the goods or services is irrelevant, but value of the claim is relevant factor for deciding the appropriate jurisdiciton. For example: the purchase value of gods may be 30 lakhs, however, the damaged items worth only 10 lakhs, so the complainant can reduce its claim to Rs. 10 lakhs plus compensation of Rs. 3 lakhs for deficiency in service and other heads, and total value of claim would be Rs. 13 lakh, may come within the jurisdiction of the District Forum.  Therefore, the claim amount may some times vary with that of the actual value of the goods or services.

State Commission

The pecuniary limit of State Commission is the cases that claims amounts between 20 lakhs up to 1 crore. The matter wherein the claim amount exceeds one crore is beyond the jurisdiction for the State Commission.  Although it can entertain a complaint having the goods or service value of just Rs. 5 lakhs, the decisive factor here is the value of the claim.

National Commission

As the Commission stood at the top level and is nationwide, it has the power to entertain all matters where the value of the claim amount  National Commission is the highest level of Consumer Forums, it may entertain all the mat­ters where the value of claim exceeds 1 crore.

From the above explanation regarding the pecuniary jurisdiction, you can understand where your claim can be filed.  Choose the Forum based on your claim amount.

By Anitha Gutti