Dr. B.C. Gupta, Presiding Member
This revision petition has been filed under section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, against the impugned order dated 24.10.2016, passed by the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, (hereinafter referred to as 'the State Commission') in First Appeal No. 1139/2012, Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services Ltd. vs. Sudha Babbar, vide which, while dismissing the appeal, the order dated 16.05.2012, passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in Consumer Complaint No. 199/10, filed by the present respondent Sudha Babbar, allowing the said complaint ex-parte against the present petitioner, was upheld.
2. As stated in the consumer complaint, the complainant/respondent Sudha Babbar entered into a contract of engagement with the petitioner Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services Ltd. (WWICS) Ltd. for her immigration alongwith her family to Australia and paid a sum of Rs. 30,000/- to them, vide cheque bearing no. 772690 dated 26.03.2007, drawn on Bank of Baroda, Delhi. As per the complainant, she showed all requisite documents to the opposite party (OP) and she was given guarantee for her immigration to Australia within a maximum time of 18 months. The complainant also entered into a contract of engagement with M/s Global Strategic Business Consultancy (GSBC), Dubai on 26.03.2007 for various services to be provided by the said Company. Vide letter dated 25.07.2007, issued by the Skills Assessor, Trades Recognition Australia, Australian Government Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, the complainant was stated to be ‘successful’ in the column, ‘assessment outcome’. The complainant further paid a sum of 300 Australian dollars on 22.06.2007 to DEWR Australia, 2060 dollars on 20.08.2007 to Department of Immigration and Citizenship Australia and 1400 dollars to GSBC. A further amount of Rs. 20,000/- was given to the OP as well. All the documents in respect of the whole family were also submitted to the OPs. The complainant kept on visiting the office of the OPs at Greater Kailash, Delhi to know about the status of her application, but it was found that her application stood rejected on 05.09.2008. The complainant sent a letter dated 11.10.2008 to the OPs for refund of the amount of Rs. 2.3 lakhs, but there was no response from them. The OPs did not respond to the legal notice also sent by the complainant. It is further stated in the complaint that she received letter dated 15.04.2009 from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Government of Australia from which she came to know that the OP was an unregistered immigration agent of India, whereas the agents operating in Australia are required by law to be registered under the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA). The consumer complaint in question was then filed, seeking directions to the OPs to refund the entire sum of Rs. 2,02,852/- and also to grant a compensation of Rs. 2,80,000/- and Rs. 10,000/- as litigation cost. The District Forum, vide their order dated 16.05.2012, recorded that the OPs did not appear before them despite service and hence, they were proceeded against ex-parte. The District Forum held the OPs guilty of unfair trade practice and directed them to refund the amount of Rs. 50,000/- to the complainant and also to pay compensation of Rs. 25,000/- including the cost of litigation. The District Forum observed that the rest of the amount had been remitted by the complainant directly to different authorities. Being aggrieved against the said order, the OP/petitioner challenged the same by way of an appeal before the State Commission, stating that they had closed their office at Greater Kailash on 18.07.2010 and shifted to Rajouri Garden, New Delhi. The OP stated that they had received the notice sent by the District Forum, but the same had got misplaced. Therefore, they should be given a chance to contest the case. The State Commission, however, dismissed the plea of the petitioner/OP and upheld the order of the District Forum. Being aggrieved against the said order, the petitioner/OP is before this Commission by way of the present Revision Petition.
3. The learned counsel for the petitioner averred that they could not appear before the District Forum due to the shifting of their office from Greater Kailash to Rajouri Garden, New Delhi. They had stated the position before the District Forum, but the same was erroneously rejected by the District Forum.
4. The learned counsel for the respondent/complainant stated, however, that the notice sent by the District Forum had admittedly been received by the petitioner/OP. In the memo of Revision Petition also, they admitted that the notice was received by them some time in the Month of August, 2010 at their Rajouri Garden office for hearing on 22.09.2010, but the same got misplaced. The learned counsel stated that the notice was received by one of their employees named Charu in their office and the stamp of their office is also affixed in lieu of receipt of the same. There was no justification, therefore, for allowing the present petition and the orders passed by the consumer fora below should be upheld.
5. We have examined the entire material on record and given a thoughtful consideration to the arguments advanced before us.
6. As per the own admission of the petitioner/OP, the notice sent by the District Forum for their service in the proceedings before that Forum was received by them and the signatures of one of their employees alongwith their office seal had also been put on the copy of the notice. The plea taken by the petitioner/OP that the said notice was misplaced is totally unfounded and does not confer any right upon them to be heard in the proceedings in the consumer complaint. The State Commission dealt with the issue at length and concluded that there was no valid ground to set aside the orders of the District Forum on the plea taken by the petitioner/OP. We do not find any illegality, irregularity or jurisdictional error in the said order of the State Commission, which may justify any interference at the stage of exercising the revisional jurisdiction.
7. It is also observed from the material on record that the complainant was made to pay a sum of more than Rs. 2 lakhs on the premise that immigration shall be arranged for her to Australia by the OPs. She paid different amounts in foreign currency as well to the agencies at Australia and also paid 1400 US dollars to Global Strategic Business Consultancy, Dubai, which seems to be an associate of the petitioner/OP. The District Forum, vide their order dated 16.05.2012, has allowed only a sum of Rs. 50,000/- alongwith compensation of Rs. 25,000/- to be refunded to the complainant, saying that the am
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ount of Rs. 50,000/- was directly received by the petitioner/OP. It is also stated that the petitioners/OPs were found to be unregistered migration agent from a letter dated 15.04.2009, sent by the Government of Australia. It is clear, therefore, that the complainant had to suffer a huge financial loss due to the act of the petitioners/OPs, who were not even an authorised migration agent for Australia. 8. From the foregoing discussion, it is clear that there is no valid ground for any modification in the orders passed by the consumer fora below. The Revision Petition is, therefore, held to be without merit and the same is ordered to be dismissed. The orders passed by the consumer fora below are upheld. There shall be no order as to costs.