Section 12(1)(b) of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986

As per the Explanation to Section 12 of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 ‘recognized consumer association’ means any voluntary consumer association registered under The Companies Act, 1956 or any other law for the time being in force. It is clear from the Explanation that only a voluntary consumer association registered under The Companies Act, 1956 or any other law can maintain a complaint under Section 12(1)(b). So as to consider whether Sobha Hibiscus Condominium is a voluntary consumer association or not, it is necessary to refer to relevant provisions of The Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act, 1972.

In essence, a voluntary consumer association will be a body formed by a group of persons coming together, of their own will and without any pressure or influence from anyone and without being mandated by any other provisions of law. Sobha Hibiscus Condominium cannot be said to be a voluntary consumer association. It consists of members of flat owners in a building, which has come into existence pursuant to a declaration which is required to be made compulsorily under the provisions of The 1972 Act. Further, it will not fall within the definition of ‘consumer’ as defined under Section 2(1)(d).”

Hon’ble Justice R. Subhash Reddy, Sobha Hibiscus Condominium v. Managing Driector, M/s. Sobha Developerts Ltd., [Civil Appeal No. 1118 of 2016].Sobha Hibiscus