Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court confirms its stand

 Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court confirms its stand

(Time limitation of 45 days for filing reply mandatory)

  1. Question Of time limitation for filing Written Statement by The opposite party ,whether mandatory or Directory

Earlier Decided case by three judges Bench

Case–New India Assurance Co. Ltd. Vs. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage Pvt. Ltd.Civil Appeal Nos.10941-10942 Of 2013, Judgment Dated- 04.12.2015,

Judges were ANIL R. Dave, J, Vikramajit Sen, Pinaki Chandra Ghose, Supreme Court Of India.

Issue : Whether earliar judgement of Supreme court by the same coordinate bench with same strength will be binding on earliar judgment;

Judments in question were

This  question had come up before this Supreme court earlier  in the case of Dr. J.J. Merchant Dr. J.J. Merchant & Ors. v. Shrinath Chaturvedi, [(2002) 6 SCC 635 Bench: M.B. Shah, Bisheshwar Prasad Singh, H.K. Sema.


Kailash vs Nanhku & Ors on 6 April, 2005

Author: R Lahoti

Bench: Cji R.C. Lahoti, D.M. Dharmadhikari, P.K. Balasubramanyan(90 days time for filing WS)

Rule 1 of Order 8 of the Civil Procedure Code, ismandatory or directory in nature.

                                    One more case of similar nature

We may need to discuss one more case in this context Topline Shoes Ltd. v. Corporation Bank

[(2002) 6 SCC 33]. Bench: D.P. Mohapatra, Brijesh Kumar

Judgment was-

  • Hence now conclusion is that time granted for written statement under consumer protection act cannot be extended beyond 45 days in any case.
  • Time specific is mandatory and not directive

Refrence to Constitutional Bench

A 5-judge bench comprising Justices

Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat had reserved orders in the case on Janu

New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage Pvt. Ltd. [(2015) 16 SCC472]
The above case referred to larger bench

First issue- time limit mandatory

Second issue –time starts from the date notice with complaint received and not only notice ,DATED 4TH March 2020

Reasonings by court –

  1. In   the   Statement   of   Objects   and   Reasons   of   the Consumer Protection Act, in paragraph 4, it has been specifically provided that the Consumer Protection Act is “To provide speedy and   simple   redressal   to   consumer   disputes,   a   quasi­judicial machinery is sought to be set up at the district, State and Central levels…….”.
  2. The Preamble of the Consumer Protection Act also mentions that the Act is  “to provide for better protection of the interests of the consumers”.
  3. The nomenclature of this Act also goes   to   show   that   it   is   for   the   benefit   or   protection   of   the consumer.   From   the   above,   it   is   evident   that   the   Consumer Protection   Act   has   been   enacted   to   provide   for   expeditious 8 disposal of consumer disputes and that, it is for the protection and benefit of the consumer.  
  4.   “Section   13.   Procedure   on admission of complaint. –
  5. 13 (2)  The District Forum shall, if the complaints   admitted   by   it   under section   12   relates   to   goods   in 9 respect   of   which   the   procedure specified in sub­section (1) cannot be   followed,   or   if   the   complaint relates to any services,­ (a)     refer   a   copy   of   such complaint to the opposite party directing him to give his version of   the   case  within  a  period   of thirty   days   or   such   extended period   not   exceeding   fifteen days as may be granted by the District Forum;

Relevant Provisions 

The Consumer Protection Regulations,2005 are reproduced below:

(5)     Along   with   the   notice, copies   of   the   complaint, memorandum   of   grounds   of appeal,   petitions   as   the   case may   be   and   other   documents filed   shall   be   served   upon   the opposite party(ies)/respondent(s).

Guiding Judgment-which judgment is considered final

Now finally coming to the legal position ,we may refer to the following judgement as guidelines

Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community & Anr. v. State of Maharashtra & Anr. [(2005) 2 SCC 673],

Bench: R.C.Lahoti Cji, S.V.Patil, K.G.Balakrishnan, B.N.Srikrishna, A.K.Mathur

(1) The law laid down by this Court in a decision delivered by a Bench of larger strength is binding on any subsequent Bench of lesser or co-equal strength.

(2) A Bench of lesser quorum cannot disagree or dissent from the view of the law taken by a Bench of larger quorum.

(3)In case of doubt all that the Bench of lesser quorum can do is to invite the attention of the Chief Justice and request for the matter being placed for hearing before a Bench of larger quorum  for consideration.


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