DATE OF JUDGEMENT:
7th December, 2021
Justices M.R. Shah and B.V. Nagarathna
Manohar Infrastructure and Constructions Pvt. Ltd (Appellant)
Sanjeev Kumar Sharma (Respondent)
The Supreme Court held that while the NCDRC may, after stating the reasons for doing so, order the deposit of the entire or more than half of the amount ordered by the SCDRC under Section 51 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. However, no discretion can be exercised by the NCDRC to order the payment of less than half the amount while entertaining an appeal under Section 51.
Consumer Protection Act, 2019
Provided that the National Commission shall not entertain the appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days unless it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period:
Provided further that no appeal by a person, who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order of the State Commission, shall be entertained by the National Commission unless the appellant has deposited fifty per cent. of that amount in the manner as may be prescribed.
(2) Save as otherwise expressly provided under this Act or by any other law for the time being in force, an appeal shall lie to the National Commission from any order passed in appeal by any State Commission, if the National Commission is satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law.
(3) In an appeal involving a question of law, the memorandum of appeal shall precisely state the substantial question of law involved in the appeal.
(4) Where the National Commission is satisfied that a substantial question of law is involved in any case, it shall formulate that question and hear the appeal on that question:
Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall be deemed to take away or abridge the power of the National Commission to hear, for reasons to be recorded in writing, the appeal on any other substantial question of law, if it is satisfied that the case involves such question of law.
(5) An appeal may lie to the National Commission under this section from an order passed ex parte by the State Commission.
The Court has rightly observed that a deposit of more than 50% may be directed by the National Commission. It must be noted that the purpose of Section 51 is to prevent frivolous appeals and where the Commission feels that a higher deposit than 50% is needed, it may order so while stating the reasons. Such a decision has to be taken depending on the facts and circumstances unique to a particular case. Thus, the minimum limit of 50% has been set by the Legislature and it is up to the discretion of the Commission to order the deposit of a sum higher than 50%.
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