By Adv. Jatin Ramaiya
Alberto Armando Da Silva Furtado, resident of Alto Porvorim, invoked the revisional jurisdiction of the Goa State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, against the order passed by the North Goa District Forum. Furtado in his petition had claimed that the District Forum had erred in disallowing his application for condonation of delay in filing a consumer complaint.
A bench comprising of Justice UV Bakre and Jagdish G. Prabhudesai , heard the counsel appearing for Furtado and his opponent and also perused the records and proceedings of the complaint filed by him. The complaint filed by Furtado had distinguished facts to it and a novel point of determination. The Commission was called to decide whether an application for condonation of delay can be entertained after the complaint is admitted and proceeded? The Bench comprising of the retired High Court Judge opined that such recourse may not be available. The complaint filed by Furtado was initially dismissed by the Forum in the year 2013 and upon appeal to the Commission the judgement of dismissing the consumer complaint was reversed and the matter was remitted with a direction to admit the Complaint and to decide the matter including the point of limitation on merits after the stage of evidence and at the time of final adjudication.
However, Furtado preferred to file an application for condonation of delay out of abundant caution after more than four years from the date of filing of the complaint, was opposed by the opponents. After hearing the parties, the District forum dismissed the application for condonation of delay. The Commission observed that “the provision of Section 24A is clearly peremptory in nature requiring the consumer Fora to see at the time of entertaining the complaint whether it has been filed within the stipulated period of two years from the date of cause of action. Be that as it may, in the application for condonation of delay there is absolutely no explanation as to why the same has been filed after inordinate delay of more than four years from the date of filing of the complaint.” Furthermore, the Commission observed that “In our view, the Forum has properly exercised the jurisdiction vested in it by law and the impugned order cannot be termed as illegal or materially irregular.”