BY JATIN RAMAIYA
Sharma Coutinho through her representative Kiran Krishna had approached the Goa State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission at Panaji with a significant question of law.It was urged on her behalf that proceedings of as contemplated under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act were akin to civil proceedings provided for the contempt of court, and therefore, as directed in order dated December 18, 2014 passed by South Goa District Forum, she could not have been asked to execute a personal bond for appearance in the sum of Rs 15,000 with one surety in the like amount on or before the next date of hearing. It was further urged that the district forum ought to have taken action u/s 25 of the Consumer Protection Act. It was also urged on her behalf that she was not a defaulter.
The commission, whilst deciding the appeal filed by Coutinho without sending any notice to the respondent, deemed fit to dispose the appeal at the stage of admission itself.
It was that: “It was held that there was preponderance of judicial opinion in support of the view that the power under Section 27(1) has got to be exercised by following the procedure prescribed for trial of offences under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Referring to M/s Sai Anusaya Co-op Housing Society, 2011 (2) CCC 177, it was held that the remedy under Section 27(1) of the Consumer Protection Act was a criminal remedy available to the complainant and the proceedings are criminal in nature and that the penalty contemplated under Section 27 (1) of the Consumer Protection Act can be imposed by following the procedure of a summary trial under Section 260 read with section 251 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.”
Therefore, the commission finally opined that since Coutinho was being tried for disobedience of the final order made by the district forum under Section 260 read with Section 251 of CRPC, the directions to her to execute the said bond is in order and cannot be faulted.