The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) held in a order that the pecuniary jurisdiction of Consumers for a is to be determined by the value of goods/services “paid” as consideration without including the value of goods/services “purchased”.
The consumer complaint was filed by a Kolkata based factory against its insurer, National Insurance Company Ltd. The case was of M/S. Pyaridevi Chabirajn Steels Pvt. Ltd. v. National Insurance Company Ltd. & Ors. The complaint was that the applicant had wrongly repudiated their insurance claim worth, Rs.28,00,20,000/- which was purchased by the company by paying a premium of Rs.4,43,562/-.
The commission opined that the value of the consideration paid in the present case was “less” than Rs.10,00,00,000/- (pecuniary jurisdiction of NDCRC, as per Section 58(1)(a)(i) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 which states that:- “complaints where the value of the goods or services paid as consideration exceeds rupees ten crores”, it had to be determined whether the complaint shall be maintainable before it.
The court observed that since this case is governed under Consumer Protection Act, 1986, NCDRC has the jurisdiction over the matter as the pecuniary jurisdiction in the matter where the Act of 1986 is applied is determined by “value of the goods or services and compensation”, it means that the value of goods or services and also the compensation would be added to reach a conclusion as to whether the National Commission has the jurisdiction or not. Section 21(a)(i) of Consumer Protection Act, 1986, under this the National Commission have the jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the goods or services and compensation claimed exceeded Rs.1,00,00,000/-, whereas, under the new law, the National Commission has jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of goods or services paid as consideration exceeds Rs.10,00,00,000/-.
The change was done so that the consumer can reach the appropriate Consumer Fora. In the Act of 1986 if a person agrees to purchase anything for Rs.60,00,000/- and later he approached the Consumer Forum seeking a refund along with compensation of Rs.50,00,000/- then the value will exceed Rs.1,00,00,000/- and the Consumer Complaint was filed before the National Commission.
The order was passed by the bench of Justice RK Agrawal (President) and Dr, SM Kantikar (Member), the bench said:-
“It appears that the Parliament while enacting the Act 0f 2019 was conscious of this fact and to ensure that Consumer should approach the appropriate Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission whether it is District, State or National only the value of the consideration while determining the pecuniary jurisdiction and not the value of goods or services and compensation, and that is why a specific provision has been made in Section34(1), 47(1)(a)(i) and 58(1)(a)(i) providing for the pecuniary jurisdiction of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, State Consumer Disputed Redressal Commission, and National Commission respectively”.