Referred to Larger Bench XIX: Trusts Not Consumers

The principal issue involved in the matter is whether a Charitable Trust could maintain an action under the provisions of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The reliance was placed on Pratibha Pratisthan, (2017) 3 SCC 712 to hold that a Trust would not be a ‘person’ and consequently not a ‘consumer’.

The definition of ‘person’ in terms of Section 2(1)(m) is an inclusive definition. In our view, the case of a Trust may come within the purview of the definition of ‘person’. The concerned provision includes number of categories under the definition of ‘person’ so much so that even an unregistered firm which otherwise has certain disabilities in law, is also entitled to maintain an action. We find it difficult to accept that a Trust would not come within the definition of a ‘consumer’. In our view, the issue requires to be revisited and the matter requires re-consideration.

We, therefore, request the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India to constitute a Bench of such strength as the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India may consider proper.”

Hon’ble Justice U.U. Lalit, Tara Bai Desai Charitable Opthalmic Trust Hospital, Jodhpur v. Supreme Elevators India Pvt. Ltd., [SLP (Civil) No. 18636 of 2019].