Moneylife Events
How to win your case in Consumer Court

Although the goverment advertisement says Jago Grahak Jago, when it comes to taking up the fight before a consumer court, the buyer finds it difficult to spend time and money. Some consumers do not even preserve all the vital evidences

Each and every one of us is part of the consumption cycle in one way or another. Our daily lives consist of consumer activities which we take for granted. On the one hand, where there is a consumer, on the other side there is the provider of the product or services that we use. On the 21st of June 2014, for Moneylife Foundation's event titled “How to Win Your Case in Consumer Court”, we invited Consumer Activist Jehangir Gai to share his experience and knowledge with our audience. His focus was on the right way to go about fighting a case in the consumer courts and being able to win your day.

“Buyers are often unaware of their rights as a consumer and bad products or services are thought of as unavoidable. Even if they decides to approaches the consumer court, many of them lose their zist to fight as the case may take one to three years and sometimes they simply give up midway. In addition, several times, consumers are found to have no proper evidence or documents to support their cases,” he said.

Mr Gai said, a buyer who wish to approach the consumer court, needs to build his evidences. Like he must note down the complaint number (docket) and time, job number and job cards as well as copies of correspondence with the concerned product seller/manufacturer or service provider. Even if you do not need to approach a consumer court, it is always better to preserve all the bills, payment receipts, warranty cards and servicing records, he added.

Clarifying on the definition of consumer, he said, “The ambit of what defines a consumer is not merely one who buys, but also anyone who uses the product or service with approval from the buyer. However, a product bought for commercial purpose does not classify as a consumer product.”

Another important criteria to decide whether you are a consumer is the payment, Mr Gai said, adding, “Free services are excluded from the definitions of Consumer Act, however the Supreme Court has held that in the specific fase of hospitals, which have paid patients and free patients, the free patients become deemed consumers. The final exclusion being as a result of the distinction between agreements of personal service (eg. Employer-employee relationship) and agreement for personal service (which is professional, prividing service as a professional). The former is excluded from the ambit to consumer law.”

Mr Gai explained that the consumer has a right to redressal in cases that may involve goods, services, hospitals, holidays and even investments. His expertise is a result of being involved with consumer organisations all the way since 1984-85. This was before the Consumer Protection Act was even passed.

In addition, fighting a case in consumer court consumes both time and money. Earlier, cases in consumer courts used to get resolved in three-six months. However, nowadays it may take one to three years. This is one of the reasons, why not many consumers are willing to approach the consumer courts or even leave their case mid-way. According to Mr Gai, during 1999, there were about 1,500 cases filed in the Mumbai Suburban Consumer Forum, which has come down to just 500 in 2013.

“An awakened consumer is an enlightened consumers and often an enlightened consumer becomes a frustrated consumer (after approaching comsumer forum),” Mr Gai said.

Over the years, Mr Gai has also addressed issues of what constitues “Consumer Protection”, for example, the term “commercial purpose” that is not defined in the law.
This leaves room for differing interpretations by different presiding officers.

Most consumers are unaware that in consumer issues, there are three strata of consumer courts that can be approached depending upon the monetary value of the consumer's grievance. Mr Gai explained that if a dispute involves monies upto Rs20 lakh, then this falls under the jurisdiction of the District Consumer Forum. If the dispute involves monetary value above Rs20 lakh but below Rs1 crore, then the State Consumer Commission can take up the case. Finally, if your dispute is in excess of Rs1 crore, the consumer has to approach the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). That said, every case decided at the District Forums or State Commissions can be appealed at the higher levels.

Going by the number of people in the audience, it is safe to say that many people face problems in resolving their issues and grievances. It is important for the consumer to address any problem with a service provider with prompt action. This is especially important considering that the admissibility of a consumer complaint in court has a lapse period, and the consumer may be left in the cold if he enters litigation too late. Mr Gai took on questions from the audience and resolved specific queries relating to people's issues.



Bapoo Malcolm

2 years ago

There are complaints against almost all professionals. Doctors are also derided, usually for the fees they charge. Why not keep them out of hospitals?

And chartered accounts out of audits. Umpires out of matches. Judges out of courts. Dons and bhais can settle matters for you.

Why keep engineers to build bridges? And architects to erect buildings? Teachers out of schools. Journalists out of news.

We are there for each other.


Prakash Basrur

In Reply to Bapoo Malcolm 2 years ago

Three Cheers for Bapu Malcolm for being frank and clear in his opinions ! Unfortunately Bapoo ( sorry ! Not Gandhiji in this case !)the more one gets transperent in exposing the reality the more the issues get complex and the reader and the consumer get disillusioned !

Chandran Kochappan

2 years ago

The Consumer forums are the lawyers paradise, as one Advocate rightly put it! The most important reform that needs to be executed is to ensure that the lawyers are kept out of the perview of Consumer Forums. The lawyers appearing for the consumer and the service providers join hands to go on postponing the hearing for one or two years or beyond!

The service provider and the trader should be directly accountable against the claim of a consumer so that undue delay could be avoided.

Vallarpadom PO
Cochin 682502


Bapoo Malcolm

In Reply to Chandran Kochappan 2 years ago

Attn: Chandran Kochappan,

As a lawyer, I find your observation offensive, if not libellous. People often lose cases because they are in the wrong, but do not wish to admit it. After all, filing cases is not that expensive. Courts get clogged with frivolous litigation, especially bogus PILs.

Please read Moneylife's post today. It deals with such actions, but the government is not the only culprit. In a recent Moneylife seminar, the fact that a vast majority of cases is filed by crooked persons was highlighted.

Had to leave Gai's address early but wanted to narrate an incident in the Consumer Court last Monday.
A person, appearing without an advocate made such a hash of his complaint that even the judge felt sorry for him, going to the extent of asking him how an educated person could do what the complainant had done.

If you are ever in Bombay, can show you winning orders obtained on day one. Often the complaining side, the plaintiffs, realising that they have a bad case, delay matters, putting defendants to great hardship. But if a lawyer wants, he can speed up matters. So, please find a capable person to help you. You may have had bad experiences.

Bapoo M. Malcolm,
Advocate, Bombay High Court, I 7809

Sensex, Nifty unlikely to make a major move -Weekly closing report

Nifty has to hold above 7,470 for it to make efforts to move up

The S&P BSE 30-share Sensex closed the week that ended on 20th June at 25,106 (down 123 points or 0.49%), while the NSE’s 50-share Nifty closed at 7,511 (down 31 points or 0.41%) for the week. We had mentioned in our previous week’s report that the Indian indices may suffer further weakness. This entire week witnessed the indices moving lower except for gains made on Tuesday.

Market sentiments in India were affected with the rising crude oil price and consequent effect of it on the current account deficit (CAD) of the country. The annual rate of inflation based on the monthly wholesale price index (WPI) accelerated to 6.01% (provisional) for May 2014, from 5.2% in April according to the data released by the government said on Monday. The WPI inflation for March 2014 was revised upwards to 6%, from 5.7% reported earlier. Nifty closed at 7,534 (down 9 points or 0.11%) on Monday.

Ahead of the Fed meet, the indices back home witnessed a sideways move for most of the session on Tuesday however, a sudden rise in the last hour made the index close in the positive covering up most of the losses of the previous two trading session. Nifty closed at 7,632 (up 98 points or 1.30%).

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its growth forecast (2% in 2014 down from an April estimate of 2.8%) for the US economy this year and said the Fed may have scope to keep interest rates at zero for longer than investors expect. The IMF left a 2015 prediction unchanged at 3%, and said it doesn't expect the US to see full employment until the end of 2017, amid low inflation.

Taking into consideration the rising inflation the current government unveiled some anti-inflationary measures. The effort to remain in the green was washed off when the Nifty was pulled suddenly in the red at the beginning of the afternoon session after which it remained there till the end of the session. Nifty closed at 7,558 (down 74 points or 0.96%) on Wednesday.

In spite of the positive cues from the US, the market back home didn’t react much to it.
Nifty closed at 7,541 (down 18 points or 0.23%) on Thursday. The highlight of the day was SEBI's Board announcing new norms for public shareholding for all listed companies including PSUs, ESOP scheme, offer for sale -OFS mechanism as well as research analysts.

After a two-day policy meeting the Fed Chair Janet Yellen said that she foresees interest rates to stay low for a considerable time, not specifying the timetable for the same, after the buying ends.

On Friday, the market witnessed a range bound session and ultimately the indices closed in the negative for the third consecutive session. Nifty closed at 7,511 (down 29 points or 0.39%). India's Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas said that there is no disruption in supply of crude oil from Iraq to India so far. However the state-run oil marketing companies have been asked by the Ministry to prepare a contingency plan both for the short and medium term including diversification of their resources for import of crude oil in order to minimise the impact of any geo-political instability in the middle-east.

For the week, among the other indices on the NSE, the top two performers were Media (3%) and IT (3%) while the worst two performers were Energy (2%) and Auto (2%).

Among the Nifty stocks, the top five stocks for the week were G A I L (6%); Asian Paints (5%); Infosys (4%); Tata Consultancy Services (4%) and IndusInd Bank (4%) while the top five losers were Mahindra & Mahindra (7%); Reliance Industries (4%); United Spirits (4%); BPCL (3%) and Hero MotoCorp (3%).

Of the 1,468 companies on the NSE, 698 companies closed in the green, 750 companies closed in the red while 20 companies closed flat.

Out of the 27 main sectors tracked by Moneylife, top five and the bottom five sectors for this week were:

ML Top sector


ML Worst sector


Farm & Farm Inputs




Software & It Services




Telecom Services














Sensex, Nifty may remain range-bound – Friday closing report
Nifty may continue to move sideways for quite some time before the next upmove

As we mentioned on Thursday, the Indian indices moved in a narrow range and the effort to stay in the green ultimately ended with the market closing Friday in the red for third consecutive session.
The S&P BSE Sensex opened at 25,238 while NSE Nifty opened at 7,543. Sensex moved in the range of 25,056 and 25,276 to close at 25,106 (down 96 points or 0.38%) while the Nifty moved between 7,497 and 7,561 and closed at 7,511 (down 29 points or 0.39%). The NSE recorded a volume of 103.29 crore shares. India VIX rose 0.56% to close at 18.8475.
India's Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas said that there is no disruption in supply of crude oil from Iraq to India so far. However the state-run oil marketing companies (OMCs) have been asked by the Ministry to prepare a contingency plan both for the short and medium term including diversification of their resources for import of crude oil in order to minimise the impact of any geo-political instability in the middle-east.
The monsoon has covered half of the country four days behind the usual schedule. Meanwhile, all India seasonal rainfall up to 18 June 2014 from the beginning of the month was 45% below long period average, the India Meteorological Department said.
Bharti Airtel will name PD Sarma as the new managing director of its Bangladesh subsidiary in place of Chris Tobit who will return to Bharti Airtel India. Sarma currently hub chief executive of the company's mobile operations across West Bengal, Kolkata, Odisha, Assam and Northeast circles, will directly report to Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal. Bharti Airtel (0.24%)  was among the top four gainers in the Sensex 30 pack.
Media reported that Mahindra and Mahindra had no 'definitive' plans about setting up a manufacturing plant in Brazil. The stock was the top loser (2.87%) in the Sensex 30 stock.
The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) said gems and jewellery exports is likely to rise to USD 44 billion during this financial year if there are positive policy changes. Gitanjali Gems (5.00%) and Titan Company (3.98%) were among the top four gainers in the ‘A’ group on the BSE.
According to the Banking Codes and Standards Board of India, the overall score of public sector banks with respect to the level of compliance with the implementation of codes was lower at 69.6 against that of all banks at 74.2 per cent. The overall score of private sector banks (78.2) and foreign banks (88.6) was above the all banks’ average. The overall scoring was based on five parameters — information dissemination,
transparency, customer centricity, grievance redressal and customer feedback. The following PSU banks, Union Bank (4.19%), Indian Bank (4.09%), Oriental Bank (3.92%), Allahabad Bank (3.86%) and Central Bank (3.83%), were among the top seven losers in the ‘A’ group on the BSE.
US indices closed flat on Thursday.
Except for Shanghai Composite (0.15%), Hang Seng (0.11%) and KLSE Composite (0.23%) all the other Asian indices closed in the red. Seoul Composite (1.20%) was the top loser.
US Futures were trading in the green while US Futures were trading marginally higher.


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