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Durdaivi Thevidar Sanghatana & Others v/s Kirloskar Investment & Finance Ltd., Reg. off. Unity Building, Pune

    Consumer Complaint No.45 of 2001

    Decided On, 12 August 2009

    At, Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Mumbai


    Smt. Lalita Panchakshari-Advocate for the Complainants Smt. Smita S. Dandige-Advocate for O.P.

Judgment Text

Per Mr. S.R. Khanzode, Hon?ble Presiding Judicial Member

1. These consumer complaints involve identical question of facts and common question of law and hence stands disposed of by this common order.

2. Undisputed facts are that a group of persons who are complainants in both these complaints have invested their savings in the deposits invited by O.P. Kirloskar Investments and Finance Ltd. which was previously known as Kirloskar Leasing and Investment Ltd. (Herein after referred as ?Company?). The deposits were to mature in between 26/11/1998 to 4/9/2002 as per the table annexed to the respective complaints. On maturity, the company failed to return the deposits, thereupon amongst other efforts to get back the deposit amounts, group of depositors came together and filed these consumer complaints.

3. The complaints are opposed by the company by filing their written statement supported by an affidavit of one Mr.C.S.Sambasivan, son of late Shri C.Seetharama Sastry and authorized signatory of the company. They have admitted the deposits and the fact that they are not in a position to refund those deposits. It is mentioned by them that they could not return the deposits since their investments with the other institutions/companies could not be realized. They also made mention to the directions of Reserve Bank of India restricting return of the deposits with them as well as proceedings under the Companies Act taken in Karnata High Court and at Chennai before Company Law Board. They also referred to the winding up petition filed by Reserve Bank of India and the directions given by the High Court therein, whereby management of affairs of the company was entrusted to the Committee appointed and the directions given in respect of return of the deposits of the depositors. With this they submitted that there is no deficiency in service on part of the company and consumer complaint is not tenable.

4. Heard Smt.Lalita Panchakshari-Advocate for the complainants and Smt.Smita S.Dandige-Advocate for O.P.

5. It may be mentioned that on behalf of the complainants affidavits of Mr.Vishnu Laxman Kale and Mr.Laxman Keru Ghogare are filed. They are nothing but the summarization or repetition of the averments made in the complaint and the rejoinder filed. In their affidavits, the complainants did not dispute the position as to the court proceedings i.e. before the Company Law Board, directions issued by the Reserve Bank of India and the winding up proceedings filed by the Reserve Bank of India and the directions issued by the High Court to which O.P. had made a reference.

6. One can understand the plight of the depositors in the given circumstances. Depositors are consumers and failure to refund the deposits in normal circumstances will amount to deficiency in service on the part of the company and that could be a consumer dispute. However the facts to which a reference is made earlier before us reveals quite a different situation while assessing alleged deficiency in service on the part of the company.

7. Affairs of the company which falls in a category of non banking Financial Company and, therefore, as per section 45 of Reserve Bank of India Act 1934 r/w section 45QA (2), comes under the supervision and control of Reserve Bank of India. In view of the company?s failure to repay the deposits accepted from various depositors, Reserve Bank of India has already taken necessary steps to secure the interest of depositors. The initial action in that direction is witnessed by a letter dated 13/8/1999, Reserve Bank of India directed the company not to accept any public deposits, renew the existing deposits or otherwise until further orders. There were company petitions before the Karnataka High Court as well as proceedings were taken before Company Law Board, Chennai. Ultimate situation is that Reserve Bank of India has filed winding up proceedings in respect of the company and in Company Petition no.2/2000, High Court of Karnataka by its order dated 08/08/2001, admitting winding up petition issued further directions. As per those directions, scheme is formulated to secure the interest of depositors and creditors and this fact remains undisputed by the complainants. Some of the complainants have under such scheme received back 20% of the amount of their deposits. In effect, therefore, the company?s hands are now tied and the process of return of deposits is now regulated by the proceedings in winding up petition and orders passed therein by the Hon?ble High Court. Under the circumstances, when deposits of the complainants were not returned on maturity or otherwise, it will not amount to any actionable deficiency in service within the meaning of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. No consumer complaint would lie accordingly or in other words present action under Consumer Protection Act, 1986, which merely provide an additional remedy, would not sustain.

8. Furthermore, the complaints in question which are filed by group of depositors, in view of section 12(c), as is stood prior to amendment of 2003 and as applicable when the complaints were filed,

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in absence of any permission taken from the Commission to file such complaints, are defective and could not be entertained since it violates the mandate of section 12 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986. 9. For the reasons stated above, we find that the complaints are not tenable much less could be allowed, as prayed. Hence, the order:- Order: 1. Complaint nos.45/2001 & 46/2001, both stand dismissed. 2. Both the parties to bear their own costs. 3. Copies of the order be furnished to the parties.