18 November 2019


Judgments

Supreme Court

Lourdes Society Snehanjali Girls Hostel and Ors. v. H and R Johnson (India) Ltd. and Ors.

MANU/SC/0849/2016

02.08.2016

Consumer

National Commission has to exercise the jurisdiction only if State Commission or the District Forum either failed to exercise their jurisdiction or exceeded jurisdiction by acting illegally

Appellant-Society is a charitable institution running a girls hostel at Surat for the benefit of Adiwasi children. Appellant-Society purchased vitrified glazed floor tiles from Respondent. Said tiles gradually developed black and white spots. Appellant informed about inferior and defective quality of the tiles to Respondents. Thereafter, a legal notice making a demand was served but no response was shown by Respondents. Appellant-Society filed a Consumer Complaint.

District Forum held that, tiles supplied by the Respondents had manufacturing defect. Respondents committed an unfair trade practice by supplying such defective tiles. By holding Respondents jointly and severally liable, District Forum directed Respondents to pay compensation. State Commission confirmed the same. National Commission reversed findings of District Forum and State Commission holding that, Appellant-Society failed to establish that it is a consumer within meaning of Section 2(d) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

National Commission should not have interfered with the concurrent findings of fact recorded in the judgment impugned before it particularly having regard to the nature of the jurisdiction conferred upon it by Section 21 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

National Commission has to exercise the jurisdiction vested in it only if the State Commission or the District Forum has either failed to exercise their jurisdiction or exercised when the same was not vested in them or exceeded their jurisdiction by acting illegally or with material irregularity. In the instant case, the National Commission has certainly exceeded its jurisdiction by setting aside the concurrent finding of fact recorded in the order passed by the State Commission which is based upon valid and cogent reasons. National Commission has failed to appreciate the fact that in the present case, the Appellant-Society is not a commercial establishment rather a registered society helping the adivasi students in their education by providing hostel facilities. Charges, for accommodation in the hostel are for maintaining the hostel and not for making profit. Thus, Appellant-Society is consumer within the meaning of the term 'consumer' under Section 2(d) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Supreme Court allowed Appellant-Society’s appeal thereby concurring with finding of fact recorded by District and the State Commission and setting aside National Commission’s order.

Relevant

Section 21, 2d of Consumer Protection Act, 1986

Tags : Defective tiles Compensation Liability

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