Consumer courts `not fit` for complex cases: Forum
New Delhi: The Delhi State Consumer
Commission has refused to decide a case relating to fund
misappropriation by Syndicate Bank officials, saying the
district consumer forum should not take up complex cases
involving criminal liability as it will result in huge
Delhi State Consumer Commission president Justice Barkat
Ali Zaidi asked the complainant, Government Servants
Cooperative House Building Society Ltd, to approach a civil
court for remedy against the Syndicate Bank for alleged fund
defalcation and misappropriation by bank officials.
"This forum is not meant for complex cases involving
diverse and difficult issues of liability and examination of
hundreds of documents. Therefore, complainant needs to knock
at the doors of the civil court so that full and thorough
examination of the issues involved may be made, and a proper
judgement may be arrived at," the state commission said.
"Evidence and cross examination of witnesses will be
necessary in a case like this to determine actual liability
and that can best be done by a regular court," it said.
The bench said the Consumer Protection Act provides an
additional remedy but its purpose and objective is quick and
speedy justice to consumers in shortest possible period.
"If such cases are taken up by the district consumer
forum, they are likely to last for months together disrupting
judicial work and relegating other pending cases to the
background, resulting in piling up of arrears," it said.
The complainant society had sought a refund of Rs
27.97 lakh alleging misappropriation of funds by Syndicate
The state commission was also told that criminal case
is also pending against several persons including
bank officials on the issue.
The court said a pending criminal case does not
obliterate a consumer court`s jurisdiction but it added that
"the complex issues of liabilities of various persons, and the
large number of documents are involved; (hence) this case is
not fit for being considered by a forum constituted under the
Consumer Protection Act."
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