Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court confirms its stand
(Time limitation of 45 days for filing reply mandatory)
- 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
- 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 –
- 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…….”.
- The Preamble of the Consumer Protection Act also mentions that the Act is “to provide for better protection of the interests of the consumers”.
- 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.
- “Section 13. Procedure on admission of complaint. –
- 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;
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.