At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Appellant: Ritesh Khare, Advocate. For the Respondent: Rishab Bansal, Advocate.
The respondent/complainant instituted a consumer complaint against the appellant company. On filing of the consumer complaint a notice was issued to the appellant by the concerned State Commission.
The date on which the notice was received by the appellant is not disclosed in the appeal but the notice had been received prior to 12.07.2017 since an advocate was instructed by the appellant had appeared before the State Commission on 25.08.2017 and it is expressly stated in paragraph 4 of the application seeking condonation of delay that the advocate was duly instructed by the appellant to appear before the State Commission. The advocate had actually appeared on 25.08.2017. The State Commission vide its order dated 25.08.2017 noted the appearance of the advocate who had filed vakalatnama without written version and adjourned the matter for 24.11.2017 for the evidence of the complainant. However, no written version or any application seeking extension of time to file the written version was filed even thereafter and the State Commission vide order dated 12.02.2018 proceeded ex-parte against the appellant. It would be pertinent to note here that no one was present for the appellant before the State Commission on 12.02.2018. In terms of the provisions of Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act the written version was required to be filed within 30 days of the receipt of the notice though the State Commission could have extended the period by upto 15 days. Admittedly, no written version was filed by the appellant within 45 days of the receipt of the notice. As noted earlier the date of receipt of notice by the appellant is not disclosed in the appeal but even if it is computed w.e.f. 12.07.2017 the time period prescribed for filing the written version expired in August, 2017. From whatever angle I may look at it there is no escape from the conclusion that the written version was not filed within 45 days of the receipt of the notice by the appellant.
2. As held by a Constitution Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in New India Assurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage Pvt. Ltd. Civil Appeal No. 10941-10942 of 2013 a Consumer Forum cannot extend the time for filing the written version beyond 15 days. Therefore, neither the State Commission could have extended the said time period nor can this be done by this Commission. The appeal, therefore, is devoid of any merit and is accordingly dismissed with no order a
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s to cost. 3. The Ld. Counsel for the appellant has suggested that delay may be condoned subject to the payment of suitable cost to the complainant. The said suggestion, however, is not acceptable to the Ld. Counsel for the complainant. The FA stands dismissed.