Lawfarm Team
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Asked May 30, 2016

Defamation by the consumer court

  • 1 Answer

A consumer court passed an uncalled for and unnecessary remark against the litigant(consumer) using an parliamentary and disparaging word (greedy). The remark has sullied the litigant's image in the eyes of endorsees. It has hurt the feelings of him and his family. The idea is to file a writ petition against the consumer court for expunging the remark. please guide.

Answer 1

Answer framed by Rahul Singh, Lawfarm Researcher:   The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides a three tier redressal mechanism for dispute settlement. If the judgment is given by district forum you can approach the State Commission against the order (Section 15 of CPC), If the order is passed by the State Commission you can appeal against it in the National Commission (Section 19) and finally if the order is passed by the National Commission you can appeal against it in the Supreme Court (Section 23). All the appeals should be made within 30 days from the date of the order.   You CANNOT approach High Court with a writ against the order of a consumer court as it is prohibited by the honorable Supreme Court in a landmark judgment. In Cicily Kallarackal V. Vehicle Factory1 the bench held that High Court would not have the jurisdiction to entertain such a writ petition when a proper channel of appeal is already prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act. When the legislature provides a statutory mechanism for appeals to a higher court or tribunal, it would not be proper to permit the parties to bypass such statutory remedy provided by law and instead approach the High Court in its writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.   However in your appeal to higher consumer forums or to Supreme Court (in case the judgment is given by the National Commission) you should make a clear case of expunging the word ‘Greedy’ from the previous judgment.   However, kindly note that you need to prove that the word ‘Greedy’ is not necessary for the decision of the case as Supreme Court in the case of State of West Bengal and Ors. v. Babu Chakroborty2 held that “…it is in violation of catena of pronouncements of this Court that harsh or disparaging remarks are not to be made against the persons and authorities whose conduct comes into consideration before Courts of law unless it is really necessary for the decision of the case…”   The Supreme Court in State of U. P. V. Mohd. Naim3 has also laid down three tests which should be applied while dealing with the question of expunction of disparaging remark against a person whose conduct comes in for consideration before a court of law. These tests are: (a) Whether the party whose conduct is in question is before the court or has an opportunity of explaining or defending himself; (b) Whether there is evidence on record bearing on that conduct justifying the remarks; or (c) Whether it is necessary for the decision of the case, as an integral part thereof, to animadvert on that conduct.   If you think that any of the three situation is skipped or ignored by the learned judge of consumer court you can go for appeal of expunction, as in the case of State of Maharashtra v. Public concern for governance trust and others4 the apex court held that, one is entitled to have and preserve ones reputation and one also has a right to protect it. In case any authority in discharge of its duties fastened upon it under the law, travels into the realm of personal reputation adversely affecting him, it must provide a chance to him to have his say in the matter. In such circumstances, right of an individual to have the safeguard of the principles of natural justice before being adversely commented upon is statutorily recognized and violation of the same will have to bear the scrutiny of judicial review.   Citations:
  • Cicily Kallarackal V. Vehicle factory (2012) 8 SCC 524.
  • State of West Bengal Versus Babu Chakraborty : AIR 2004 SC 4324.
  • State of U.P. Vs. Mohammad Naim, (1964) 2 SCR 363.
  • State of Maharashtra v. Public concern for governance trust and others AIR 2007 SC 777.
  • Agree Comment 0 Agrees over 5 years ago

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