After a wait of almost 3 months, NCDRC pronounced its judgment on keenly awaited issue of validity of registered buyer associations filing case under section 12 (1) (b). Buyer associations of almost 50 projects have been eagerly waiting for the decision all this while. We look at some of the key points from NCDRC’s judgment on section 12(1)(b):
- The association should be a body formed by a group of persons, coming together of their own will and without being motivated by any financial consideration.
- The sole or one of the main objectives of the body so formed should be to pursue, propagate, advance, safeguard or promote the interests of the consumers in general, or a class or sub-class of the consumers as defined in Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act.
- The association should be registered under the Companies Act or under any other law for the time being in force
A Residents Welfare Association, a cooperative society or an Association of Flat / Plot Buyers or a company.
- If a body is formed with the objective of making financial gains, and not to serve the cause of the consumer or the society in general, it will not qualify as a Voluntary Consumer Association, within the meaning of Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act.
- A Trust cannot be said to be a Voluntary Consumer Association within the meaning of Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act.
- The Voluntary Consumer Association can file a consumer complaint on behalf of a single consumer as well as on behalf of more than one consumers, having identical grievance(s) and seeking identical relief(s) against the same service provider(s).
Some of the takeaways from above judgment are:
- Registered buyers association can file case at any of the consumer court.
- The association can file one or more than one case on behalf of one or more consumers.
- The buyers for whom the case is being filed by association shall still be consumers i.e. those who have bought the property for non-commercial purposes.
The entire NCDRC’s judgment on section 12(1)(b) can be viewed here.