Consumer forum can’t extend time period beyond 45 days for opposite party’s version, says SC

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Supreme Court, on 04 March 2020, Wednesday, held that “District Consumer Forums” do not have the power to extend the time beyond 45 days as prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act for filing of version by the opposite party in a Consumer case”.

Under section 13(2)(a), the District Forum receives a complaint under section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, a copy of the complaint is to be served upon the opposite party, and the opposite party has to provide his version of the case within a period of 30 days from the date of receipt of the copy of the complaint. Section 13(2) also lays down that the District Forum may grant to the opposite party an extension of 15 days. The same is the time period for filing versions in the State Commission and National Commission as well.

The 5-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprising Indira Banerjee, Vineet Sara, S Ravindra Bhat and MR Shah also said that the period of 30 days will start from the date on which the opposite party comes to know about the complaint.

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