In a noteworthy judgment, the South Mumbai Consumer Forum has
apprehended that a flat owner legally occupying the flat would be a
consumer, even if his title to the flat might be in dispute before
a competent court.
In a recent case where Mr.Thurlow owned a flat in a cooperative
society. Appuswami was his roommate. In 1976, Appuswami got married
and started residing in the same flat with his wife. In course of
time the couple had three kids and were born and brought up in the
After Mr.Thurlow expired Appuswami appealed to court for the
title of the flat but unfortunately expired before the title can be
granted, but his wife and three kids continued to reside in the
same flat. Consequently, the society intervened, opposing Appuswami
did not have any right to the flat and it should be handed over to
the Society. Also the society refused to grant permission to
renovate and fix the aging flat. On this the Appuswami family filed
a consumer complaint. The complaint claimed that they were
recipients of the services availed of by the deceased Thurlow, and
would be considered consumers. Even though the issue of the Title
of the Flat was pending, the High Court permitted them to use and
occupy till the issue was decided. So they had every right to keep
their flat in proper livable condition, and renovation would not
cause any harm or prejudice the society's claim.
The society, on the other hand, claimed a consumer complaint was
not maintainable as the Appuswami Family had not been recognized as
members. The society also argued that no case could be filed before
first giving a notice under Section 164 of the Maharashtra
Co-operative Societies Act.
The Consumer Forum observed Section 164 was not applicable to
consumer complaints. Beside, the Appuswami family had clearly put
the society to notice by writing for permission to carry out
repairs, and stating the society would be liable if permission was
not granted. The Forum observed as maintenance charges had been
collected, the consumer complaint was maintainable. The issue of
inheritance before the High Court would not debar the filing of a
consumer complaint for repairs.
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On March 10, 2015, the controversial amendments to the land acquisition law were finally passed by the Lok Sabha after facing severe criticism both from the opposition parties as well as from the government's own allies.
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