Kalidas Mukherjee, President
This order relates to hearing on Miscellaneous Applications bearing nos.245/2013 in CC 135/2012, 246/2013 in CC 136/2012, 247/2013 in CC 137/2012, 248/2013 in CC 138/2012, 249/2013 in CC 139/2012, 250/2013 in CC 140/2012, 251/2013 in CC 184/2012, 252/2013 in CC 185/2012, 253/2013 in CC 186/2012, 254/2013 in CC 188/2012, 356/2013 in CC 62/2013, 357/2013 in CC 63/2013, 358/2013 in CC 64/2013, 470/2013 in CC 113/2013, 500/2013 in CC 108/2013, 501/2013 in CC 109/2013, 502/2013 in CC 110/2013, 36/2014 in CC 161/2013, 37/2014 in CC 207/2013, 38/2014 in CC 211/2013, 39/2014 in CC 212/2013, 40/2014 in CC 249/2013, 132/2014 in CC 271/2013, 133/2014 in CC 282/2013, 134/2014 in CC 294/2013, 135/2014 in CC 295/2013, 136/2014 in CC 296/2013, 41
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/2014 in CC 299/2013, 412/2014 in CC 300/2013, 413/2014 in CC 301/2013, 629/2014 in CC 290/2013, 624/2013 and 130/2014 in CC 128/2013, 131/2014 and 625/2013 in CC 129/2013 which were heard analogously having identical facts. It has been stated in the Miscellaneous Applications that patients were admitted at AMRI Hospitals on 8th December 2011 for treatment of their ailments. On 9th December 2011 at about 2 a.m. fire broke out at the ground floor garage space and due to deliberate negligence of the OP the inflammable objects caught fire and released poisonous gases as alleged in the petition of complaint. A Criminal Case was registered against the OP Hospital. During the pendency of the Criminal Case the OP Hospital should not be directed to disclose its defence by filing W.V.It is contended by the Learned Counsel for the Misc. Applicants that the Hon'ble National Commission vide order dated 07/11/14 in CC 383 of 2013 along with other cases held that the claims in the complaint filed before the Hon'ble National Commission have been inflated in order to invoke the jurisdiction of the Commission and the complaints were dismissed with liberty to the Complainants to amend the same and file before the appropriate Consumer Fora. It is submitted that as per the observation of the Hon'ble National Commission in the said order some of the Complainants have filed the complaints before this Commission, but as regards the prayer for compensation there is no breakup of the claim so as to justify the amount claimed. It is also contended that Criminal Case has been filed which is pending and at this stage the OPs/Misc. Applicants should not be directed to file W.V. It is contended that if W.V. is filed the defence of the OPs will be disclosed and they will be prejudiced. In support of such contention the Learned Counsel for the Misc. Applicants have relied on the decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court in Civil Appeal 5477 of 2008 [V. Pahwa @ Vijay Pahwa vs. Utsav Basu] wherein it has been held that during the pendency of the criminal trial the proceedings before the National Commission will remain stayed. It is submitted that relying on this decision the Hon'ble National Commission in Revision Petition No.2717 of 2009 [Rajib Kumar Ray & Ors. vs. Dr. G. S. Dey & Ors.] was pleased to dismiss the Revision Petition. The Learned Counsel has relied on the decision reported in 1992 (2) CPR (NC) 444 [Pardes Dehydration Company vs. Chairman, Bank of India & Anr.] wherein it has been held that where the matter is directly raised in a criminal complaint pending trial before a Court a concurrent adjudication of question cannot be gone into by Redressal Forum. Reliance has also been placed in the decision reported in II (1991) CPJ 262 (NC) [Santosh Sharma & Ors. vs. State Bank of India & Ors.] where it has been held in paragraph 3 as follows:“It is common ground before us that the police investigated into the matter and have registered a criminal case in which Respondents Nos.4 & 5 figure as the accused and the said case is pending trial before the concerned Sessions Judge. The matter is thus sub-judice before the Criminal Court. It is not open to us to hold an enquiry into the factual question as to whether the allegations contained in the complaint petition are correct and true when the matter is pending before the Criminal Court.”The Learned Counsel for the Misc. Applicants has further submitted that against the order of the Hon'ble National Commission dated 07/11/14, Paromita Guha Thakurta & Anr. being aggrieved by the said order filed Civil Appeal 1096-1099/2015 before the Hon'ble Apex Court wherein counter affidavit has also been filed. It is contended that vide order dated 07/11/14 the Hon'ble National Commission held that the trial in Criminal Cases against the OP was no ground for stay of the proceedings before the Consumer Fora. It is submitted that this view is contrary to the view of the Hon'ble National Commission by Larger Bench in the decision reported in II (1991) CPJ 262 and the decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of V. Pahwa vs. Utsav Basu (supra). It is submitted that when the Civil Appeal has been preferred before the Hon'ble Apex Court against the order of the Hon'ble National Commission dated 07/11/14 and the matter is subjudice, the instant case should remain stayed till the decision in the matter in issue before the Hon'ble Apex Court.The Learned Counsel for the Complainant has submitted that as per the direction of the Hon'ble National Commission in the order dated 07/11/14 some of the Complainants filed their cases before this Commission and as regards the pecuniary jurisdiction no question can be raised. It is further submitted that as per the latest view of the Hon'ble National Commission as expressed in the order dated 07/11/14 in Complaint Case No.383 of 2013 along with other cases the proceeding in Consumer Fora will proceed in spite of the pendency of the Criminal Case. The Learned Counsel has referred to the decision of the Hon'ble National Commission in I.A. 2566 of 2015 [Dr. Biman Kumar Saha Roy vs. Dr. Tapan Mukherjee & 9 Ors. dated 30/04/15]; decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court in Civil Appeal No.4166 of 2013 [Gurugranth Saheb Sthan Meerghat Vanaras vs. Ved Prakash & Ors.].We have heard the submission made by both sides and perused the papers on record. So far as the question of pecuniary jurisdiction is concerned, we are of the considered view that the Complainants have filed the complaints as per the direction of the Hon'ble National Commission. It is the contention of the Learned Counsel for the Misc. Applicants that in absence of breakup of the claim regarding compensation, the pecuniary jurisdiction cannot be determined and the complaints are liable to be dismissed. We are unable to accept such contention. When the complaints have been filed as per the direction of the Hon'ble National Commission, it remains the matter of evidence to substantiate the claimed amount of compensation.As regards the pendency of the Criminal Case and the prayer for stay of the proceedings of the consumer complaint before this Commission, we are of the view that since the order dated 07/11/14 of the Hon'ble National Commission has been challenged before the Hon'ble Apex Court on the matter in issue and it is subjudice, we find it expedient in the interest of justice to stay the proceedings in the abovementioned complaint case pending before this Commission till the decision of the Hon'ble Apex Court in Civil Appeal No.1096-1099 of 2015 [Paromita Guha Thakurta & Anr. vs. Amri Hospitals].The Miscellaneous Applications are allowed. The Complaint Cases as mentioned above will remain stayed till the disposal of the Civil Appeal No.1096-1099/2015 before the Hon'ble Apex Court. To 12/02/16 for report. This order will govern all the Miscellaneous Applications as stated above.