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Consumer jurisdiction is a ‘one-way street’: Commission

BY JATIN RAMAIYA

Bhanu Patel and Dame Indira Patel, both British nationals and persons of Indian origin, had approached the Goa State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at Panaji, complaining against M/s Goan Real Estate and Constructions Pvt Ltd and others.It was their case that they had purchased seven plots from the opponent, and the said seven plots have on the southern side an eight metre access while one of the plots on the northern side was abutted by a three metre road also meant for the use of the another plot which was purchased by them in Aldeia de Goa.

It was their case before the commission that Goan Real Estate and Constructions Pvt Ltd had made certain encroachments on the access of plots purchased by them. It was their case which was supported by an architect’s report that a RCC water tank was constructed within the space of the said three metre wide and the 25 metre long road leading to the plots was fully blocked and the said blockage is adversely affecting the value of plots.

The complaint filed by them was essentially for a direction to the opponents to remove all encroachments of the said three metre wide and 25 metre long road to plot No 69 and encroachment in theirs plots and prayed declaration and compensation.

However, the commission on the basis of the averments made in the complaint, took up the matter for admission and deemed fit to dismiss the complaint. The commission while dismissing the complaint through its president Justice N A Britto observed that the complainants had purchased 7 plots in addition to the 5 plots. It was also observed by the commission that if a person purchases more than one plot it can be safely inferred that is not purchased for his own use but for commercial purpose.

The commission finally held that: “Consumer jurisdiction is some sort of one-way street. It is meant only for consumers, and not to others. Complainants are not consumers, they having purchased the said 7 plots for the purpose of resale and as such the complaint filed by them cannot be admitted. The complainants are free to seek the reliefs sought before the Civil Court or any other forum and for that they may take benefit of Section 14 of the Limitation Act as held by the Apex Court in Laxmi Engineering.”

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