Oral:The complainant/appellant booked a residential flat with the respondent in a project namely ‘Ekaantam’ which the respondent was developing in Sector-112/113 of Gurgaon. The sale consideration of the flat, as per the averment made in the appeal, was Rs.2-2.5 Crores. The complainant/appellant made an initial payment of Rs.15 lacs to the respondent. No further payment was made. The complainant/appellant, approached the concerned State Commission by way of a Consumer Complaint which was contested by the respondent which also annexed a cheque of Rs.15 lacs to its reply. The cheque was accepted. The Consumer Complaint however, was dismissed by the State Commission relying upon the decision of this Commission in CC No.97 of 2016 Ambrish Kumar Shukla & Ors. Vs. Ferrous Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd., decided on 07.10.2016 on noticing that the cost of the flat was more than Rs.1 Crore. Being aggrieved from the order passed by the State Commission, the appellant is before this Commission.2. At the time the Consumer Complaint was instituted before the State Commission, Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was in force. In terms of Section 17 of the Consumer Protection Act, the State Commission, at that time, had pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain a Consumer Complaint where the value of the goods purchased or the services hired or availed, as the case might be and the compensation claimed in the complaint, exceeded Rs.20 lacs but did not exceed Rs.1 Crore.3. As held by this Commission in Ambrish Kumar Shukla (supra), the value of the services in such a case would be the sale consideration agreed to be paid by the flat buyer to the builder. The following extracts from Ambrish Kumar Shukla (supra), are relevant in this regard:Section 21 of the Consumer Protection Act, to the extent it is relevant provides that this Commission shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds Rs.1.00 crore. Therefore, what has to be seen, for the purpose of determining the pecuniary jurisdiction, is the value of the goods or services and the amount of the compensation claimed in the complaint. If the aggregate of (i) the value of the goods or services and (ii) the compensation claimed in the complaint exceeds Rs.1.00 crore, this Commission would have pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the complaint. Similarly, if the aggregate of the value of (i) the goods or services and (ii) compensation, if any, claimed in the complaint exceeds Rs.20.00 lacs but does not exceed Rs.1.00 Crore, the State Commission would have the pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the complaint.4. In view of the decision of this Commission in Ambrish Kumar Shukla (supra), the State Commission was absolutely justified in rejecting the Consumer Complaint on the ground that it lacked pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the Consumer Complaint. The State Commission, however, could have returned the complaint to the complainant for being presented before this Commission, instead of dismissing it for want of pecuniary jurisdiction and in that case, this Commission could have proceeded with the Consumer Complaint from the stage at which it was returned by the State Commission. Such a course of action however, cannot be adopted at this stage considering that the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 since stands repealed and has been replaced by Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and under the new Act, the pecuniary jurisdiction would not vest with this Commission. The pecuniary jurisdiction under the new Act, may rather vest with the concerned District Forum, the complainant/appellant having paid only Rs.15 lacs to the respondent.5. The learned counsel for the appellant/complainant submits that the Consumer Complaint before the State Commission was instituted before the decision in Ambrish Kumar Shukla (supra), was rendered by a Three-Members Bench of this Commission. This however, would not be relevant since this Commission only declared the law as it always was. A Court/Tribunal does not make the law. It only interprets the law as it always stood. Therefore, even at the time the Consumer Complaint was instituted before the State Commission, the said Commission did not have the pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the complaint. The complaint, at the time, ought to have been instituted before this Commission, the cost of the flat being more than Rs.1 Crore. The consideration actually paid by the complainant would not be material for this purpose since u/s 17 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, the pecuniary jurisdiction was to be determined on the basis of the value of the goods or the services as the case might be and not on the basis of the consideration paid by the consumer. The position however, is different under Consumer Protection Act, 2019.6. The learned counsel for the complainant/appellant submits that at the time of admission of the complaint, the State Commission was of the view that it had the requisite pecuniary jurisdiction to entertain the Consumer Complaint. In my opinion, the institution of the Consumer Complaint before the State Commission, by itself, was a mistake and the complainant/appellant ought not to have instituted it before the State Commission.
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The invocation of the jurisdiction of the State Commission itself being a mistake, the complainant/appellant has no option but to undergo the process open to him in law.7. For the reasons stated hereinabove, no ground for interference with the impugned order is made out. The appeal is therefore, dismissed. It is however, made clear that dismissal of the Consumer Complaint by the State Commission shall not come in the way of the complainant/appellant approaching the appropriate consumer forum for the redressal of his remaining grievances.The appeal stands disposed of accordingly.