Which Court has jurisdiction to entertain a case regarding consumer protection?

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Under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 , State Government established Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions by name District Forum in each District of State, and also State Commission vide its Notification and Central Government established National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission by name National Commission.

Jurisdiction of the District Forum to entertain a case depends on three factors namely, subject matter of the complaint, pecuniary and territorial limits and the place where the cause of action takes place partly or wholly. Act confers the power on District Forum to entertain the complaints pertaining to the value of goods or services and the compensation amount not exceeding 20 lakh rupees. Territorial jurisdiction to be decided based on the following factors:

  1. The place where the Opposite party or parties actually resides, or carries business or has a branch office or place where works for gain, at the time of filing the complaint
  2. Where there are more than one opposite party, then the place where any one of the Opposite parties actually resides, or carries business or has a branch office or place where works for gain
  3. The place where the cause of action takes place wholly or partly.

State Commission shall have the jurisdiction in three forms:

  1. Original Jurisdiction – State Commission can entertain in two forms; territorial jurisdiction and pecuniary. State Commission can entertain the subject matters occurred in particular state. State Commission is competent enough to decide the claim between Rs. 20 lakh to 1 Crore.
  2. Appellate Jurisdiction – Under Section 15, if any person aggrieved by the order of the District Forum may file an appeal before State Commission of that State.
  3. Revisional Jurisdiction.- Act confers power on State Commission to revise the Oder of the District Forum on various circumstances such as if District Forum exercised extraordinary jurisdiction or failed to exercise its vested jurisdiction or exercised jurisdiction illegally or acted with material irregularity.

Jurisdiction of National Commission

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Nation Commission shall have the Jurisdiction as that of State Commission; Original, Appellate and Revisional Jurisdiciton. Original Jurisdiction of National Commission extends to all over the nation, and its pecuniary jurisdiction is that it can entertain claims exceeding 1Crore.

Under Appellate Jurisdiction, it has power to entertain the appeal filed against the order of State Commission. The National Commission on the other hand has Revisional Jurisdiction by which it has power to revise the order of the State Commission if it had exercised its jurisdiction excessively, or not excised its vested jurisdiction or exercised jurisdiction illegally or acted with material irregularity.

According to the given classification and jurisdiction of consumer forums, one should choose the appropriate forum to file a complaint for seeking relief under Consumer Protection Act.

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By Adv. Anitha Gutti