CASE: NARINDER KUMAR SUNEJA V. RK GOEL

Petition No. 1264 of 2009 in Appeal No. 1964 of 2008

On Revision, 14 May 2009

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC

INTRODUCTION

Consumer is the most impressive and propelling power of society, yet simultaneously their rights are being infringed. In 1986, the Government of India sanctioned a far-reaching enactment Consumer Protection Act, to safeguard the enthusiasm of the customer. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, applies to all products and ventures, barring merchandise for resale or business reason and administrations rendered for nothing out of pocket and under an agreement for individual help. The arrangements of the Act are compensatory. It covers open, private, joint, and helpful parts. The Act cherishes the privileges of the customer, for example, right to wellbeing, right to be educated, right to be heard, and right to pick, right to look for Redressal and right to consumer instruction. We all are customers of merchandise and ventures. With the end goal of the Consumer Protection Act, “buyer” has been characterized independently for “merchandise” and “administrations”. Consumer Protection Act has been implemented (1986) or we can bring into reality to ensure the privileges of a customer. It shields the customer from misuse that business practice to make benefits which thus hurt the prosperity of the consumer and society. This right assistance to instruct the shopper on the privilege and obligations of being a buyer and how to look for help or equity when confronted with abuse as a consumer. It shows the buyer to settle on the right decisions and realize what is correct and what’s going on.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND 

Petitioner filed a complaint alleging deficiency in service against respondent – Petitioner submitted that he was an advocate who had argued the case of the respondent with great enthusiasm – Petitioner main contention was that the respondent was his classmate during his academic career – Petitioner had not issued a receipt for the amount of Rs. 10, 000/- paid as legal fees by the respondent – Respondent had executed his power attorney/ Vakalatanama in petitioner favour – Further submitted that respondent had wasted his valuable time in connection with the case when the latter met and sought expert advice from the petitioner – Whether petition filed by the petitioner could be maintainable – Held, that the petition was maintainable under the jurisdiction of the consumer forum.

BENCH

The bench of this case can be referred to as:

  1. D. SHENOY (MEMBER), B. N. P. SINGH (PRESIDING MEMBER)

 ISSUES

  • The advocate was alleged to have not performed his service.
  • The lower forums have recommended his to return the amount.
  • The advocate pleads in the national commission, to explain the concept ‘service’ described in the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
  • Petition was filed with the purpose to endow advocate with relief from giving the amount.

JUDGEMENT

In the case Narinder kumar Suneja V. RK Goel, the petition was first filed at the state consumer forum for the compensation of the amount given by the petitioner to advocate, and it was held by the commission that advocate has not rendered proper service and is compelled to return the amount. Further the revision petition was filed by advocate in the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, and there it was held that “the commission has taken a consistent view and concluded that there was lack of service rendered by the advocate, and the plaint is maintainable under the consumer protection act 1986. The ratio of the judgment is squarely applicable to the case under consideration. Further, it was mentioned that no flaws have been deducted in the judgment of the state commission and accordingly revision petition was dismissed. There shall be no order as to cost.

CASE COMMENTARY

In the case mentioned above which is the revision petition filed by an advocate to get a proper explanation of  the concept of service under Consumer protection Act 1986, which says as follows: ‘ ‘service’ includes anything essential for a potential consumer and includes the provision of facilities in connection with finance, insurance, banking, supply of electricity, water and supply of house etc, it further demonstrates that it does not include rendering service for free or under any contractual obligation..’ In the above-mentioned definition it is nowhere stated that performing legal work falls under the term service, this case was further raised with correspondence to the case of Indian Medical Association V. V.P. Shantha and Others, III (1995) CPJ 1 (SC)=I (1996) CLT 81 (SC)=1995 (6) SCC 651, where the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed as follows: “ definition of profession differ from occupations to other, and the surety of any work can’t be given in any occupation. Factors are responsible to decide the outcome of any work. And it is beyond the control of any professional men”. It is mentioned here that the success in any situation is not pre-decide. And once the petitioner has given the Vakaltnama to advocate it was his duty to provide him with further essential documents to get the case resolved. It was at the fault of the petitioner to first seek the expert advice and then move towards litigation but once he has signed the Vakalatnama there is no way to ask for the return of the amount which was not even his complete fees. Time here also plays an essential role, the sufficient time was passed and the advocate has started and gathered the information regarding the case, he has completed his task successfully and was demanding for further documents, which were not provided to him, so there was no negligence in performance at the part of the advocate, he has provided the mentioned service he was deemed to providing. Even it was the petitioner who was at the fault and has not produced the documents. Further, this case does not fall under the provision of the Consumer Protection Act as the duty of the legal officer is nowhere mentioned in the description of service under the specified act. So, here we can conclude that this case is not admissible in the consumer forum.

CONCLUSION

The judgment given the state forum and further by national forum was not par. First of all, the term Service does not include the legal functioning and further, the professions mentioned under also do not include legal work. Whereas in the case mentioned above the decision lies in the favour of the petitioner which is not just. Also, referring to the case ‘ Kishore Lal v. Chairman, Employees’ State Insurance Corpn.,I (2008) CPJ 13 (SC)=(2007) 4 SCC 579, the Hon’ble Apex Court said that consumer forum is liberal and believes in steady resolution of the case which cannot be witnessed in the present case. Hence, this case needs revision and certain changes.