Consumer courts `not fit` for complex cases: Forum
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Last Updated: Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 13:21
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 backlog.

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 Bank officials.

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."


First Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 12:59

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