At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MS. DEEPA SHARMA
For the Appearing Parties: D.K. Mahajan, Abhishek Sharma, Prateek Anand, Advocates.
I.A.No.16752 of 2018 (Permission to file joint complaint)
The present complaint has been filed by five complainants alleging that they have common interest and common grievances against the opposite party. An application seeking permission to file the present complaint under Section 12 (1) (c) has also been filed being I.A.No.16752 of 2018. Arguments on this application have been heard. It is submitted by the learned counsel for the complainant that the present complaint is squarely covered by the decision of this Commission in the case of Ambrish Kumar Shukla & 21 Ors. versus- Ferrous Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. dated 07.10.2016 of this Commission, wherein persons are permitted to file a joint complaint under Section 12 (1) (c) and thereafter to issue notice under Rule 1(8) of the CPC giving information to the other similarly placed persons of the project. It is further submitted that complainants are not aware if there are other allottees in the same project of the opposite party who are also aggrieved by their action and interested in refund of the deposited amount.
2. I have given thoughtful consideration to the arguments of learned counsel for the complainant and have gone through the complaint filed by the complainants and also perused the contents of the application under Section 12 (1) (c). The present complaint has been filed by these five complainants seeking refund. In Ambrish Kumar Shukla& 21 Ors. versus- Ferrous Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., this Commission has permitted few of the persons to come before the Commission and file a joint complaint with the permission of the Commission under Section 12 (1) (c). In the said case this Commission has clearly held that the permission can be granted only when there are numerous number of persons who are similarly placed and has common grievances. This Commission has clearly held that such persons must be substantial number of persons. In order to resolve their grievances against the opposite party, few of them cannot join together under Section 12 (1) (c) and seek relief for their grievances where there are no averment or contention that there are substantial number of similarly placed persons who intend to seek same relief. This Commission has held as under:
"8. The scope and object of the principle embodied in Rule 8 of Order I of Code of Civil Procedure was stated as under by a Four-Members Bench of this Commission in Anil Textorium Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Rajiv Niranjanbhai Mehta, 1997 3 CPJ 31 (NC):
"6. .......The principle admitted in all Courts / Tribunals/Quasi-Judicial Authorities upon questions affecting the suitor's person and his liberty and his property is that the rights of no man shall be decided unless he himself is present. Therefore, all persons having an interest in the subject-matter are to be made parties in a suit or other proceedings but the provisions of Order I Rule 8 of the Code of Civil Procedure has carved out an exception. It provides that where a number of persons are similarly interested in a suit one or more of them can with the permission of the Court or on a direction given by the Court, sue or be sued on behalf of themselves and others. The provisions of this rule have been included in the Code in public interest to avoid multiplicity of litigation and to facilitate the decision on questions; in which a large number of persons are interested, without recourse to the ordinary procedure. These provisions are meant for the benefit and protection of the persons who have the same interest as one who has filed the suit. The exception is adopted by the Courts to avoid inconvenience, because if all persons interested are made parties, there would be considerable delay and justice would be hampered.
...........It is the existence of a sufficient community of interest among the persons on whose behalf or against whom the suit is instituted that should be the governing factor in deciding as to whether the procedure provided in the representative suit should be adopted or not".
8. The complainants can be one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest. The interest must be common to them all or they must have a common grievance which they seek to get redressed.
............Where all the consumers jointly interested are made parties to the complaint, it is not a representative complaint in the strict sense of the provisions of Order I Rule 8 and no permission is necessary".
9. The obtaining of a quasi-judicial permission is an essential condition for binding those consumers other than those actually parities to the complaint. The Consumer FORA have to exercise a judicial discretion in granting permission to a complainant to sue in a representative capacity having regard to the nature of the complaint and the reliefs sought".
3. In the present case, there is no averment in the complaint or in the application that there are substantial numbers of persons who have a common grievance for which the complainant has been filed in representative capacity. The entire pleadings clearly show that complainant has been filed by these five complainants for the resolution of their individual grievances, although they have mentioned that this complaint is filed under Section 12 (1) (c). Even during the course of the arguments, learned counsel has admitted that they are not aware if there are other persons of the same project which are similarly placed. From the pleadings, it is apparent that the complainants have booked individual flats with opposite party wherein th
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ere were about 2000 allottees in the same project, as disclosed by the learned counsel for the complainant during arguments. Out of the 2000 allottees, only 5 of them have come before us with no contention that there are other substantial number of allottees who have the same grievances and are similarly placed. It seems that five complainants have joined together to confer pecuniary jurisdiction to this Fora. This act is not permissible under the Law. For these reasons the application is dismissed. The complaint is also dismissed. The complainants are free to seek recourse of their grievances before appropriate forum.