The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): A Division Bench of R.K. Agrawal (President) and Dr S.M. Kantikar (Member), held that
“…for determining the pecuniary jurisdiction of the District Commission, State Commission or National Commission the value of goods or services paid as consideration alone has to be taken and not the value of the goods or services purchased.”
Facts of the Case:
Pyaridevi Chabiraj Steels (P) Ltd. v. National Insurance Company Ltd., Consumer Case No. 833 of 2020 (decided on 28-08-2020)
Complainant approached the Commission with regard to a complaint against National Insurance Company Limited, Kolkata wherein, the complainant had taken Insurance coverage from National Insurance Company Limited, Kolkata under its Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy initially for a total sum of Rupees Twenty eight crores and twenty thousand only by paying a premium of Rupees Three lac twenty thousand five hundred and twenty-five only. An additional security coverage of Rupees Thirteen crores only on 25-08-2020 by paying a premium of Rupees One lac twenty-three thousand and thirty-seven only.
Due to heavy rainfall and flood water, factory premises of the Complainant got tilted and partial collapse of the building was caused with several other losses due to damage in the building. Complainant informed the National Insurance Company Limited, Kolkata on 05-09-2020 about the loss suffered and making the payment of the loss suffered by estimating it. After exchange of correspondence and personal interaction the National Insurance Company Limited – OP-1 repudiated the claim of the Complainant.
Maintainability of the present complaint:
In the present case a preliminary point arises as to how this Consumer Complaint is maintainable before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission because the value of the consideration paid in the present case i.e. premium paid for taking the Insurance Policies was only Rs 3,20,525 and Rs 1,23,037 the total of which comes to Rs 4,43,562 (Rupees Four Lac forty three thousand five hundred and sixty two only), which is less than the consideration paid of more than Rs 10,00,00,000 (Rupees Ten crores) as provided under Section 58 (1) (a) (i) of the Act of 2019.
Parliament, while enacting the Act of 2019 was conscious of this fact and to ensure that Consumer should approach the appropriate Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission whether it is District, State or National only the value of the consideration paid should be taken into consideration while determining the pecuniary jurisdiction and not value of the goods or services and compensation, and that is why a specific provision has been made in Sections 34 (1), 47 (1) (a) (i) and 58 (1) (a) (i) providing for the pecuniary jurisdiction of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and the National Commission respectively.
Hence, the bench stated that Sections 34 (1), 47 (1) (a) (I), and 58 (1) (a) (i) of the Act of 2019 make it clear that for determining the pecuniary jurisdiction of the District Commission, State Commission or National Commission the value of goods or services paid as consideration alone has to be taken and not the value of the goods or services purchased. As the value of considering pecuniary Jurisdiction Of Consumer Forum To Be Determined By Value Of Goods/Services ‘Paid’ As Consideration: NCDRCion paid by the Complainant is only Rs 4,43,562 (Rupees four lac forty-three thousand five hundred and sixty-two only), which is not above Rs 10,00,00,000 (Rupees Ten crore), the National Commission has no jurisdiction to entertain the present Consumer Complaint.