NCDRC Affirms Dismissal of Developer’s Late Evidence in Consumer Case, Emphasizing Adherence to Procedural Deadlines

In a significant ruling strengthening consumer rights, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has dismissed an appeal by real estate developers against an order rejecting their application to file additional evidence in an ongoing consumer complaint.

Case Background:

The case, First Appeal No. 433 of 2024, was filed by Era Realtors Pvt. Ltd. and Omkar Realtors and Developers Pvt. Ltd. against an order dated 24/04/2024 passed by the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Complaint No. CC/21/171. The Complainants in the original case are Neeraj Saxena and Mayadevi Saxena, with ICICI Home Finance Company Ltd. As the third respondent.

Key Legal Issues:

  1. Whether developers can introduce new evidence after their right to file a written statement has been forfeited due to delay.
  2. The scope of allowing additional evidence in consumer cases where written statements were not filed within the statutory timeframe.
  3. Interpretation of regulations regarding filing of written arguments in consumer cases.

NCDRC’s Decision:

The NCDRC, presided over by Justice A. P. Sahi (President), dismissed the appeal and upheld the State Commission’s order rejecting the developers ’application to file an affidavit in lieu of examination-in-chief.

Key Observations:

  1. On Introducing New Evidence:

Justice Sahi emphasized: “It is by now well settled by several judgments that no evidence can be permitted to be introduced in the absence of any pleading.” The court cited multiple Supreme Court judgements, including Biraji v. Surya Pratap (2020) and Damodhar Narayan Sawale v. Tejrao Bajirao Mhaske (2023), reinforcing this principle.

  • On Delay and Procedural Fairness:

The NCDRC noted the developers repeated attempts to delay proceedings, stating : “The appellants conduct as indicated above in attempting to delay the proceedings has also been emphasized upon by the learned counsel for the respondents.”

  • On Written Arguments:

Addressing the developers concerns about limitations on written arguments, the court clarified: “It is evident from the impugned order that a last chance has been given for filing of the written arguments.” The NCDRC emphasized that this doesn’t prejudice the appellants, as they can still address arguments on the merits of the case.

Lawyers and Parties: – For the Appellants: Mr. Aditya Kumar, Ms. Ila Nath, Ms. Anjana Nigam

For the Respondents: Mr. Mayank Sapra, Mr. Sulaiman Bhimani, Ms. Lalima Das, & Mr. Prasenjit Singh

Read/Download Order/Judgement

Courtesy Law Trend

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