How to file a case in Consumer Court
Any lay man can know how to file a case in consumer court in India for a grievance for any goods and services he has purchased. Be it a simple grocery item purchase say chocolates (Dairy Milk worms case) or purchase of flats (where delivery not given or delayed) or services, a person can file a consumer complaint himself without engaging the services of a lawyer and can also represent himself. The consumer courts have been specially set up to protect the interests of consumers and are not as fastidious and bogged down by legalities and technicalities.
Follow the steps below in order to know how to file a case in consumer court –
- Send written notice to opposite parties.
- Determine which consumer forum your case will lie.
- Draft or write your case on paper and submit to Consumer Forum.
- Appear before the consumer forum to present case.
NOTE : Read each step in detail below for a better understanding.
Send written notice to opposite parties.
As a word of caution, it can be said that though the consumer complainant process a very lenient process compared to the ordinary court process is still an official process. Before beginning the same it is advisable that the Consumer gives a written notice to the defaulting party giving details of his complaint and thus giving him a chance to resolve the same at the threshold itself. This will not only give a chance for the complainant to be resolved amicably but also prove the Consumer’s bona fide. Further it will create documentary proof of the consumer’s grievance and the defaulting party’s neglect of refusing to resolve the same.
Determine which consumer forum your case will lie.
A person to file a consumer complaint has to firstly determine where the complainant will be filed which is a twofold process.
Firstly, if the value of the goods and services plus the damages and interest (i.e. total value of the case) is: (Pecuniary Jurisdiction)
- Upto Rs. 20 lakh- District Forum (Click here for list of District Forums)
- Between 20 lakh to 1 Crore-State Forum(Click here for list of State Forum)
- Above Rs. 1 crore-National Consumer Forum situated in New Delhi.
Secondly, it has checked which place the complaint will be filed. It will depend on where the cause of action arises i.e. where the disputed or wrong action took place against which the consumer is filling the present case or where the opposite party or accused party is situated. (Territorial Jurisdiction)
For eg- if the dispute is for a car sold at Rs. 5 lakh, the complaint will lie before the District Commission. Further if the place where the car is sold Silchar, Assam than the complainant will be made before the Cachar District Forum. (check from the list of district forums)
Who can file a Consumer Complainant.
A consumer complainant can be filed by the consumer himself, the relative, husband or legal representative. A consumer may also authorize any other third person to proceed on his or her behalf by giving a written authority and filling the same along with the case papers.
Draft or write your case on paper and submit to Consumer Forum.
In order to file a consumer complaint, the same has to be written down in a specific format. A sample of the same has been provided here for the consumer’s convenience. Few of the important aspects to keep in mind are:
- Clearly state the address of the both the consumer as well as the opposite party against whom the complainant is filed.
- The most important aspect is to explain how the person filling is a consumer and is entitled to file the consumer dispute. A person is entitled if he has purchased any goods or services for value for consumption and not resale, or purchased the same for self-employment.
- Explain in detail the transaction which has resulted in the grievance of the consumer. Give as much detail as possible including the date transaction, the person with whom the transaction undertaken, the bill or any other documentary proof of the transaction etc in an orderly and sequential manner.
- State the efforts made by consumer to resolve dispute if any for eg written notice give or orally opposite party informed of the dispute.
- State how the said consumer forum has jurisdiction to try the case i.e the territorial and pecuniary jurisdiction.
- State whether the consumer complainant is within limitatione. 2 years from the date the dispute arose. If not explain why not and also file application for condonation of delay in filing the said complainant.
- Cleary state the PRAYERS or the solutions that the consumers requires in the case that the Consumer Forum should grant in favour of the consumer.
- The complaint has to be signed at the end and has to be accompanied with an Affidavit notorised by the Oath Commissioner stating that the contents of the complainant drafted by you or under your instructions and are true.
- An Index must be at the beginning of the Complainant which lists the complainant and the various documents filed along with their respective page numbers.
- The complaint has to be file before the respective Consumer Commission with the required number of copies of the same.
Appear before the consumer forum to present case.
Since you now know how to file a case in consumer court and have done the same the next step is to present the case before the Consumer Forum. The complainant will after filling be listed for the Admission hearing where the consumer will have to satisfy the Forum prima facie that a valid consumer dispute exists, that the consumer is a bona fide consumer, jurisdiction of forum, complaint made within limitation etc. If the Consumer Commission is satisfied they will issue Notice to all the opposite parties to come and respond to the same. The Case will then proceed to detailed hearings, filing of Reply by opposite part, filing of Rejoinder or Reply to the Reply of opposite party, additional documents, written submissions or brief of the case before the final arguments. It must be noted that it is not essential that all the cases will follow the same route. Some may be dismissed at the Admission stage itself or in some the judges may pass an order immediately after hearing the opposite party.
The Supreme Court has decided that the opposite party will be given strictly 45 days only from the date they receive the notice of the case to file their Reply and no extension of time will be given. If they fail to do so their right stands closed.
Consumer Complainant Online
Till now filling of Consumer Complainant Online is not possible. The filling has to be done through paper filing only with requisite copies.