BY JATIN RAMAIYA
Sharma Coutinho, a representative of Kiran Krishna Real Estate and Construction Pvt Ltd, through its representative had approached the Goa State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at Panaji after being aggrieved by the order of the district forum issuing a non-bailable warrant.
Whilst allowing the appeal of Coutinho, the commission observed that as the C P Act stands today, there are only two remedies available, and in this case, to the complainant. One, under Section 25(3) and the other under Section 27(1) of the C P Act, Section 25(3) of the Act, to the extent it is applicable, it provides that where an amount is due from any person under the order made by the fora, the person entitled to the amount may make an application to the forum and the forum may issue a certificate for the said amount to the Collector of the District and the Collector shall proceed to recover the amount in the same manner as arrears of land revenue and Section 27(1) of the C P Act also provides for a penalty for non-compliance of the orders of the forum which penalty is by way of imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one month but which may extend to 3 years or fine which shall not be less than Rs 2,000 but which may extend to Rs 10,000 or with both. The commission observed that remedies provided are as contemplated by Section 25(3) and 27(1) of the C P Act and both are independent and concurrent
However, the commission held that, “Issuance of a warrant whether bailable or non-bailable is a process meant to secure the attendance of a party or to compel the presence of a party. It cannot be a magic wand to get payment. At no stage has the district forum indicated that it is going to try OP No 1 for an offence punishable under Section 27(1) of the C P Act nor has asked her to remain present for the purpose of an inquiry or trial for the said offence. It is nobody’s case that OP No 1 had failed to attend the forum in person when required. A warrant of arrest should not, as a rule, be issued where summons/notice would be sufficient for the ends of justice, as arrest deprives personal liberty. A warrant of arrest can only be issued when the person against whom it is sought to be issued will either not obey the summons/notice to remain present or is keeping out of the way to evade service of summons/notice or that he or she, after being duly served, has deliberately disobeyed it”.
Since the conditions were not satisfied in the case, the commission called the issuance of NBW a wrong exercise of discretion, which is arbitrary and illegal. Therefore, the orders issuing NBW deserved to be set aside.
Whilst making a remark over conduct of parties, the commission held that, “It is not unusual for some of the parties and sometimes their advocates too, to ask for the moon. It is also not unusual for some of the parties and sometimes their advocates to defend what is indefensible. It is for the courts/fora under the C P Act to know the law and apply it meaningfully and grant a relief only in case a party is entitled to it in terms of the law. Not otherwise. Just because a party asked for an NBW to be issued to recover the amount due, the forum was not bound to issue the same mechanically.”
Bailable or non-bailable warrant is only meant to secure attendance: Commission
BY JATIN RAMAIYA