NCDRC dismissed a Consumer Case, instituted under Act of 1986 on 18.06.2020, on the ground, after enforcement of Act of 2019, pecuniary jurisdiction of NCDRC has been enhanced from Rupees One Crore to Rupees Ten Crores. The decision has been set aside.
A change in forum lies in the realm of procedure. Accordingly, in compliance with tenets of statutory interpretation applicable to procedural law, amendments on matters of procedure are retrospective, unless a contrary intention emerges from the statute. There is no express language indicating, all pending cases would stand transferred to fora created by Act of 2019 by applying its newly prescribed pecuniary limits. In deducing whether there is a contrary intent, legislative scheme and procedural history may provide a relevant insight. One can imagine the serious hardship that would be caused, if cases which have been already instituted before NCDRC were required to be transferred to SCDRCs as a result of the alteration of pecuniary limits by Act of 2019. It would be difficult to attribute to Parliament, whose purpose in enacting Act of 2019 was to protect and support, with an intent that would lead to financial hardship, uncertainty and expense in conduct of litigation.
We have come to the conclusion, proceedings instituted before commencement of Act of 2019 on 20.07.2020 would continue before fora corresponding to those under Act of 1986 and not be transferred in terms of pecuniary jurisdiction set for fora established under Act of 2019.
– Hon’ble Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, Neena Aneja v. Jai Prakash Associates, [Civil Appeal Nos. 3766-3767 of 2020].