A trust is not a consumer under the law and hence cannot file complaints with the consumer forum alleging deficiency in service, the Supreme Court held today.
Concurring with the views of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Prafulla C Pant said, “A Trust is not a person and therefore not a consumer. Consequently, it cannot be a complainant and cannot file a consumer dispute under the provisions of the Act.
“We are of opinion that the National Commission was quite right in holding that the complaint filed by the appellant Trust was not maintainable,” it said.
The bench referred to the relevant provisions dealing with the definition of consumer and complainant under the Consumer Protection Act and held that trusts do not fall under either category.
It dismissed the appeal filed by a trust, Pratibha Pratisthan, against the NCDRC’s decision that a trust cannot file a consumer complaint with consumer panels.
“A reading of the definition of the words ‘complaint’, ‘complainant’ and ‘consumer’ makes it clear that a Trust cannot invoke the provisions of the Act in respect of any allegation on the basis of which a complaint could be made,” it said.
Under the consumer law, the term ‘person’ includes a firm, a Hindu undivided family, a co-operative society etc.
( Source – PTI )