Class Action, Consumer Disputes II

We cannot read, a word in singular, namely: ‘consumer’, will not include plural.

If vowel ‘a’ and word ‘consumer’ appearing in Section 2(5)(i) of The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 are to be understood to exclude more than one person, it will result in a disastrous consequence while reading Section 2(5)(vi). A way of interpreting Section 35(1) read with Section 2(5) of 2019 Act would be to say, a complaint may be filed by one or more ‘consumers’ jointly, seeking redressal of their own grievances, without representing other ‘consumers’ who may or may not have ‘same interest’. The complaint filed shall be treated as a ‘joint complaint’ not as a complaint filed in a ‘representative capacity’. A ‘joint complaint’ stands in contrast to a complaint filed in a ‘representative capacity’.

Hon’ble Justice V. Ramasubramanian, Brigade Enterprises Limited v. Anil Kumar Virmani, [Civil Appeal No. 1779 of 2021].  

Brigade L

Brigade Enterprises Ltd. v. Anil Kumar Virmani (2022) 4 SCC 138 will apply on all fours. Having considered Brigade Enterprises Ltd., members of Alpha G184 Owners Association would fall under Section 12(1)(a) of The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and there is no need to go into Section 12(1)(b). The definition of ‘complainant’ under Section 2(b)(i) will include ‘multiple consumers’.  

– Hon’ble Justice M. M. Sundresh, Alpha G184 Owners Association v. Magnum International Trading Company Pvt. Ltd., [Civil Appeal No. 4718 of 2022] decided on 15.05.2023.