Can only registered buyers association file case in NCDRC against Real Estate Builders?

As per the recent article of Economic Times May 8th 2017 “Only registered home buyers’ body can file complaint against builders: NCDRC“.

This title of ET article is misleading many consumers. Let’s look at how.

As per THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 1986, section 12, following are the manner in which complaint shall be made in consumer forum:

(1) A complaint in relation to any goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or any service provided or agreed to be provided may be filed with a District Forum by –

(a) the consumer to whom such goods are sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or such service provided or agreed to be provided;

(b) any recognised consumer association whether the consumer to whom the goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or service provided or agreed to be provided is a member of such association or not;

(c) one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest, with the permission of the District Forum, on behalf of, or for the benefit of, all consumers so interested; or

(d) the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, either in its individual capacity or as a representative of interests of the consumers in general.

The ET article covers only Section 12.1.b. Hence, it is not true that Only registered home buyers’ body can file complaint against builders: NCDRC.

Earlier there was a confusion on what type of association can be formed as per Section 12.1.b to file case in NCDRC.
In the recent judgement pronounced by NCDRC on 5th May 2017, following key points are mentioned related to forming an association to file a case in NCDRC:

1. The association should be a body formed by a group of persons, coming together of their own will and without being motivated by any financial consideration

2. The sole or one of the main objectives of the body so formed should be to pursue, propagate, advance, safeguard or promote the interests of the consumers in general, or a class or sub-class of the consumers as defined in Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act;

3. The body qualifying the conditions (1) and (2) above should be registered under the Companies Act or under any other law for the time being in force;

4. A Residents Welfare Association, a cooperative society or an Association of Flat / Plot Buyers or a company, if it qualifies conditions (a) to (c) above also will be a Voluntary Consumer Association, within the meaning of Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act;

5. If a body is formed with the objective of making financial gains, and not to serve the cause of the consumer or the society in general, it will not qualify as a Voluntary Consumer Association, within the meaning of Section 12 of the
Consumer Protection Act;

6. A Trust cannot be said to be a Recognised Consumer association/Voluntary Consumer Association within the meaning of Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act.

7. Recognised consumer association/Voluntary Consumer Association can file a consumer complaint on behalf of a single consumer as well as on behalf of more than one consumers, having identical grievance(s) and seeking identical relief(s) against the same service provider(s).

Note – (“recognised consumer association” means any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) or any other law for the time being in force )

You can read here the entire judgment given by NCDRC on 5th May 2017.

You can also read this article to know the procedure of filing case in NCDRC.

Disclaimer: If you find any discrepancies in this article then please contact us

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