By Adv. Jatin Ramaiya
Roy Saldanha and Lorraine Saldanha initially approached the North Goa District Forum complaining as against M/s CV Constructions for deficiency of service.
The Saldanha’s complaint was that the builders neither provided compound wall around the premises nor replaced the fitted titles which had stains. It was their contention that the builders were duty bound to provide such facilities laid down in the terms of agreement dated April 25 2011. However the District Forum while allowing the application referred the dispute between the Saldanha’s and builders to arbitration. Aggrieved by the verdict the Saldanhas appealed to the Goa State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, Panaji. They said that the District Forum erred in passing the order of reference and Consumer Protection Act is a better suited remedy for consumers. On the other hand the builders said that the complainants cannot pick up and choose those clauses which are favourable to them.
Upon hearing the parties Justice Britto, president, State Commission dismissed the appeal filed by the Saldanhas. It was observed by Justice Britto that the Indian Contract Act applies to all including consumers and it is known that when a person signs a document which contains certain contractual terms, the party is bound by such contract and it is for such party to establish exception.
Whist giving judgment the Commission also took note of the mandate of Section 8 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 which mandates reference of any arbitral dispute brought before any judicial authority. Further the Commission referred to previous cases viz. the case of National Seeds Corporation Ltd., vs. M. Madhusudan Reddy in pronouncing the verdict. The Commissions held judgement of Apex Court to be per incuriam and relegated the case to arbitration.