Sunday, March 1, 2009

Power of Attorney holder entitled to file complaint under the Consumer Protection Act

Ahmedabad, Jan 5 (IANS) In a landmark judgement, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed an insurance firm to pay a man Rs.10,000 as damages for a malfunctioning television set, though the petition was rejected earlier because the man's parents had filed the complaint on his behalf, armed with a power of attorney.

The India Assurance Co. Ltd will also have to pay the Durga Dalal an interest of 10 percent per year on the amount, starting Jan 1, 2003, the New Delhi-based commission ruled.

Local consumer forums here had rejected the complaint earlier because someone armed with a power of attorney (POA) had filed it.

There is a legal debate in Indian courts on whether POA holders can file a case on the behalf of a victim.

The panel, which was deciding on a "revision petition" filed by Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS) here, held that a POA holder was entitled to file a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act.

Earlier, the district forum here had dismissed the complaint as "non-maintainable" on this ground. The Gujarat State Commission had also held that that the case did not stand. But the commission set their orders aside.

The parents of Durga Dalal alleged that the television had broken down suddenly and the insurance company was bound to reimburse consumers on the basis of a household policy. Durga had bought the TV set.

On July 30, 2002, his parents filed a claim for Rs.30,000. When the insurance company did not pay, they approached the district forum.

The insurance company held it had offered to pay Rs.10,000, though its surveyor had reported that the TV set was very old and valued at Rs.8,500-9,500. It also said the damage was caused by wear and tear that was not covered under the scope of the insurance policy.

The National Commission said the state commission and the district forum had taken "an over-technical view" in dismissing the complaint by "holding that father/mother of an aggrieved person or his power of attorney was not entitled to file a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act 1986".

"This is erroneous," the National Commission observed. "It is to be reiterated that under the Act, technicalities are not to be encouraged because the only procedure prescribed under the Act, is to follow principles of natural justice and to decide the matter after hearing both parties."

3 comments:

mahesh said...

there is need for consumer courts.....








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Pramod Mehta said...

PLEASE UPDATE THE NAME OF THE CASE

Nilesh Goswami said...

Even I want to represent a case on behalf of my father who is complainant. District consumer forum rejected. What can be done