At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Petitioner: Rosy Sharma, Advocate. For the Respondent: ---------------
1. The case of the petitioner/complainant is that respondent no. 3 Jarnail Singh approached him and suggested him to invest Rs. 3 lacs in a Fixed Deposit plan of the respondent HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Ltd. He allegedly assured him that he would get minimum 12% interest on the aforesaid amount and he could withdraw the said amount after one year. According to the complainant, after one year, he received a telephone call from the insurance company informing him that he was required to pay the amount on a yearly basis during the duration of the plan. The complainant sought cancellation of the policy which was rejected. Being aggrieved, he approached the concerned District Forum at Hoshiarpur by way of a Consumer Complaint.
2. The complaint was resisted by the respondent HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Ltd. which took a preliminary objection that the District Forum at Hoshiarpur lacked territorial jurisdiction to entertain the complaint. It was stated in the reply that the policy was purchased by the complainant at Nawan-shahar where the proposal of this policy was filled up on 30.09.2008. It was also stated in the reply filed by the aforesaid company that it has a Branch Office at Nawan-shahar with its Head Office at Mumbai.
3. The District Forum at Hoshiarpur vide its order dated 09.04.2012, partly accepted the complaint and directed the insurance company to refund the amount of Rs. 3 lacs to the complainant along with interest @ 9% per annum. Being aggrieved from the aforesaid order, the respondent HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Ltd. approached the concerned State Commission by way of an appeal. Vide impugned order dated 27.01.2016, the State Commission took the view that the District Forum at Hoshiarpur lacked territorial jurisdiction to entertain the complaint and accordingly transferred the complaint to District Forum at Nawan-Shahar in accordance with law. Being aggrieved from the aforesaid order, the complainant is before this Commission by way of this revision petition.
4. Section 11 of the Consumer Protection Act, to the extent it is relevant, provides that a complaint shall be instituted in a District Forum within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the opposite party or each of the opposite parties where there are more than one, at the time of institution of the complaint, actually and voluntary reside or carries on business or has a branch office or works for gain or (b) any of the opposite parties where there are more than one, actually and voluntary resides or carries on business or has a branch office, or personally works for gain provided either the permission of the District Forum is taken or the opposite parties who do not reside, or carry on business or have a branch office, or personally works for gain, acquiesce in such institution. The complaint can also be instituted within the local limits of the District Forum in whose jurisdiction the cause of action, wholly or in part arises. Admittedly, the respondent HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company Ltd. does not carry on business nor it has a Branch Office at Hoshiarpur. No permission by the District Forum was given for instituting a complaint at Hoshiarpur against the said respondent. The aforesaid respondent having taken a preliminary objection with respect to territorial jurisdiction of District Forum at Hoshiarpur, it cannot be said that the said respondent had acquiesced for the institution of a complaint at Hoshiarpur.
5. The next question which then arises for consideration is that the cause of action wholly or partly, arises in Hoshiarpur. The learned counsel for the complainant/petitioner submits that respondent no. 3, an agent of the insurance company, had approached the complainant at Hoshiarpur and collected the money from him. However, I find no such averment in the complaint. In the absence of such an averment in the complaint, the contention cannot be accepted. This is more so, when the respondent has taken a specific plea that the proposal was filled and the policy was taken by the complainant at Nawan-Shahar. Moreover, had the complainant made payment to respondent no. 3 at Hoshiarpur as is claimed by the counsel, a receipt from him would have been obtained. No such receipt has been filed or even claimed.
6. The learned counsel for the petitioners relies upon an affidavit sworn by respondent no. 3 Jarnail Singh. I have perused the affidavit. There is no averment in the affidavit that Mr. Jarnail Singh had approached the complainant and collec
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ted money from him at Hoshiarpur. Therefore, reliance upon the said affidavit is only misplaced. 7. For the reasons stated herein above, I have no hesitation in holding that the District Forum at Hoshiarpur lacked territorial jurisdiction to entertain the complaint. The order passed by the State Commission therefore, does not warrant for any interference by this Commission in exercise of its revisional jurisdiction. The revision petition is accordingly dismissed, with no order as to costs.