J.M. Malik, Presiding Member
1. The key question in this case is, œWhether, M/s. Nav Bharat Press (Raipur), is a consumer, in accordance with Section 2(1)(d)(i)??.
2. The case of M/s. Nav Bharat Press, the complainant, is that it is a registered partnership firm, under the provisions of Indian Partnership Act, and mainly deals in publication of Newspapers, with its Publishing Centres at Raipur, Bilaspur, Raigarh, Durg, Bhubaneswar, in the States of Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The complainant has its publishing Centres in the States of Chhattisgarh and Odisha. It has its Corporate Office at Nagpur and various of its staff members, representatives, correspondents and other people are required to attend the Nagpur Office, on regular basis.
3. The complainant came through a widely circulated advertisement from M/s. Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd, the opposite party, which advertised construction of Sahara City, near Nagpur on NH-7. The advertisement also described the Scheme of Sahara City, M/s.Sahara India Commercial Corporation Ltd., as to what kind of facilities and amenities they were to provide.
4. The complainant booked an independent Bungalow bearing No.V5/391, which according to the initial communication at Unit area of 380.73 sq.mts, plot area of 473.70 sq.mts and terrace area of 293.23 sq.mts at Sahara City Homes, Nagpur. Major portion of the payment was made, but the opposite party did not construct the house, within the prescribed period, so the present complaint case was filed before this Commission, on 24.06.2013, with the following prayer:-
œIt is, therefore, prayed that this Honble Commission may kindly be pleased to :-
i) Hold that, the opponents are guilty of unfair trade practice and have committed deficiency in service as contemplated under the provisions of Consumer Protection Act.
ii) Issue appropriate direction to the opponents to complete the entire work of the Scheme, i.e., the infrastructural development as mentioned in Para ___ above and Bungalow booked by the complainant within a stipulated time OR refund an amount of Rs.1,56,96,032/- (Rupees One Crore fifty six lakhs ninety-six thousand thirty-two only) by the complainant with the opponent with interest @18% from the date of last payment, i.e., 29.09.2010 to the complainant.
iii) saddle the costs of this proceeding against the opponents
iv) Grant any other relief which this Honble Authority deems fit in the facts and circumstances of the case?.
5. We have heard the counsel for the complainant. He argued that the complainant is a consumer and it is constructing a Guest House for the people mentioned above. He contended that this Guest House is not being constructed for commercial purpose.
6. Instead of touching the heart of the problem, the learned counsel for the complainant has just skirted it. It is difficult to fathom as to how can a Partnership Firm, which is transacting the business of printing and publication of Newspapers, can be said to be a Consumer?? It is clear that the employees, representatives, correspondents, etc., would transact the commercial activity. A bare perusal of this case, clearly goes to show that the Guest House is meant for commercial purpose. By no stretch of imagination, it can be said that the said premises will be used by a person, exclusively for the purpose of earning his livelihood, by means of self-employment.
7. In a case decided by a Bench consisting of Justice J.M.Malik and Mr.Vinay Kumar, Member, titled, M/s. Purusharath Builders Pvt.Ltd., Vs. M/s. Uppal Housing Ltd. and Anr, Complaint Case No.112 of 2012, decided on 05.07.2012, held as under :-
œ11. Learned counsel for the complainant argued that these flats will be used for the officers of the Company. Learned counsel for the complainant could not deny that those officers would transact the commercial activity. A bare-look on this Resolution, clearly goes to show that these flats would be meant for commercial purposes.
8. A Special Leave Petition was preferred by the complainant in the above referred case and the Honble Apex Court in M/s.Purusharath Associates Pvt. Vs. M/s. Uppal Housing Ltd., Plaza and Anr., (Civil Appeal Nos. 8990-8991 of 2012), decided on 07.01.2013, dismissed the Civil Appeals.
9. The complainant is not a consumer. Therefore, we dismiss the complaint, but it can approach the appropriate forum for redressal of its grievances, as per law. Filing of this complaint is sheer wastage of the precious time of this Commission. We, therefore, impose punitive costs in the sum of Rs.10,000/-, which be paid in Prime Ministers Relief Fund, towards Uttarakhand Tragedy, within 60 days, otherwise, it would carry interest at the rate of 9% per annum, till realization. Learned Registrar to see the compliance of this order and report.