APPELLATE ORDERS OF THE NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTE REDRESSAL COMMISSION CAN BE CHALLENGED IN THE HIGH COURT THROUGH A WRIT PETITION: (IBRAT FAIZAN v OMAXE BUILDHOME PVT LTD)1
§67 of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 permits an appeal to be filed in the Supreme Court of India to challenge the NCDRC's original orders, but not orders passed by the NCDRC in appeal.
Ibrat Faizan booked a flat with Omaxe but despite paying the sale consideration, possession of the flat was not handed over. Ibrat approached the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in 2013, which allowed the complaint and directed Omaxe to hand over possession and pay interest.
Omaxe appealed to the NCDRC and the NCDRC stayed the State Forum's order, but subject to Omaxe depositing the entire value of the flat with interest. Omaxe challenged the NCDRC's order in the Delhi High Court through a writ petition, and the High Court reduced the deposit amount to 50%.
In the meanwhile, the NCDRC dismissed Omaxe's appeal and upheld the State Forum's decision. Omaxe filed another writ petition before the Delhi High Court, which stayed the NCDRC's judgment upholding the State Forum's order directing the delivery of possession and the payment of interest. Ibrat challenged the High Court's order in the Supreme Court, primarily on the basis that the writ petition filed by Omaxe in the High Court was not maintainable.
The Supreme Court's Decision
The SC dismissed Ibrat's appeal and said:
- Under the Consumer Protection Act 2019, a statutory appeal to the Supreme Court is only provided for original orders/judgments arising from complaints filed before the NCDRC.
- The NCDRC is a 'tribunal' and its orders are subject to the High Court's writ jurisdiction.
- In the absence of an alternative statutory remedy, a writ petition in a High Court challenging an order/judgment of the NCDRC would be maintainable.
- However, the exercise of the High Court's jurisdiction would be confined to the powers available to it under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.
- This would save costs of litigation since approaching the Supreme Court would be expensive.
This judgment clarifies that a litigant can also approach the High Court under a writ to challenge the NCDRC's appellate order.
1 Decision dated 13 May 2022 passed by the Supreme Court of India in Civil Appeal No 3072 of 2022.
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