SOURCE – PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has clarified only registered residents’ welfare associations (RWAs), consumer organisations, cooperative societies or association of flat or plot buyers can file complaints against builders in the commission.
Clearing the ambigbuity regarding the term ‘voluntary consumer association’ in Section-12 of the Consumer Protection Act, presiding member Justice VK Jain in his order on Friday said, “Recognised consumer association means any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 (1 of 1956) or any other law for the time being in force.”
The forum has also made it clear that a Trust cannot file a case for one or more consumers or on behalf of a group.
It said the sole or one of the main objectives of the body should be to pursue, propagate, advance, safeguard or promote the interests of the consumers in general.
“It should be a body formed by a group of persons, coming together of their own will and without being motivated by any financial consideration,” the order said.
NCDRC also clarified that if a body is formed with the objective of making financial gains, and not to serve the cause of the consumer or the society in general, it will not qualify as a voluntary consumer association.
“Authenticity of an association is important. I think with clarity on the same, the process will be streamlined and the cases will get expedited. We will spread awareness and appeal to the buyers to form associations and get it registered before moving to the court,” said Abhishek Kumar, president of Noida Extension Flat Owners Welfare Association (NEFOWA).
NCDRC and the Supreme Court have already made it clear that a group of consumers having a common interest or a common grievance and seeking the same or identical relief against the same person can come together without forming any association to file a case in NCDRC with a claim of Rs 1 crore or more.
In case the claim is less than Rs 1 crore, then consumers need to file cases in the district forum or state commission.
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