At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Appearing Parties: Trilok S. Shende, AR.
The complainant / petitioner took a housing loan of Rs.4.00 lacs from respondent No.1, State Bank of India. She having committed default in making timely payment of the installments, the proceedings under Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (hereinafter referred to as ‘SARFAESI Act’) were initiated against her. In terms of the said proceedings, the possession of the
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house of the complainant / petitioner was taken by the bank on 18.8.2011. According to the petitioner / complainant, the provisions of the SARFAESI Act were not duly followed by the bank before taking forcible possession of the house on 18.8.2011 since no order in terms of Section 14 of the said Act had been obtained. The petitioner therefore filed a consumer complaint containing the following prayers:
1. The respondents be directed to handover the possession of the seized flat along with seized movable property, to the appellant.
2. The respondents shall pay compensation @ Rs.15,000/- per month w.e.f. from 18.8.2011 to the appellant towards illegal seizure of the flat and movable property of the appellant
3. The respondents be directed to pay to the appellant compensation of Rs.4.50 lacs towards violation of the human rights of the appellant and behavior with her in an insulting manner.
4. The respondents be directed to pay to the appellant litigation cost of Rs.25,000/-.
2. Alongwith the complaint, the petitioner also filed an application for condonation of delay in filing the consumer complaint. She submitted that the application had been filed as a matter of abundant caution though the cause of action available to her was a continuous cause of action since August, 2011.
3. The complaint was resisted by the bank which took a preliminary objection that the Consumer Forum did not have the jurisdiction to entertain the matter, the bank having taken action against SARFAESI Act and the only remedy available to her was to file an application / appeal before the Debt Recovery Tribunal. The District Forum having rejected the application for condonation of delay, and consequently having disposed of the consumer complaint accordingly, the petitioner approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. The said appeal also having been dismissed, the petitioner is before this Commission by way of the present revision petition.
4. It is an admitted position that the possession of the house was taken from the complainant / petitioner on 18.8.2011. The cause of action, presuming the same to be available to the petitioner / complainant therefore arose to her on that date. Having been filed on or after 30.5.2015, the complaint therefore was clearly barred by limitation prescribed in Section 24A of the Consumer Protection Act, which prescribes the limitation of two years from the accrual of cause of action for filing a consumer complaint. I find no merit in the contention that the cause of action which became available to the complainant on 18.8.2011 was a continuous cause of action.
5. Coming to the application seeking condonation of delay in filing the complaint, the said delay according to the petitioner / complainant occurred since she had to obtain document of sale from the office of the Sub-Registrar which she obtained on 12.8.2013. As rightly noted by the State Commission, the aforesaid document was not required for filing the consumer complaint. It would be appropriate to note here that the petitioner / complainant is assailing the recovery of possession under SARFAESI Act on the ground that the requisite order under Section 14 of the said Act had not been obtained. In any case, the complaint was not instituted even soon after obtaining the sale document on 12.8.2013. Therefore, no ground for condonation of delay in filing the consumer complaint was made out by the petitioner / complainant.
6. More importantly, the bank having taken possession of the house under provisions of SARFAESI Act, the only remedy available to the petitioner / complainant is to approach the Debt Recovery Tribunal for grant of appropriate relief and a consumer complaint is not an appropriate remedy available to her in law.
7. For the reasons stated hereinabove, I find no ground to interfere with the order passed by the fora below. The revision petition being devoid of any merit is hereby dismissed.