The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court in the case Akona Engineering Private Ltd Vs Pal Construction and another observed and has reiterated that State Consumer Commissions and District Consumer Forums are not empowered to exercise powers of review and to set aside ex parte orders unless a statute empowers them for the same.
The bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Tashi Rabstan and Justice Puneet Gupta observed while hearing a petition in terms of which the petitioner had questioned an order passed by the J&K State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Jammu, whereby the complaint had been restored back which was dismissed in January 2013.
In the present case, the question that fell for adjudication before the bench hearing the matter was whether the J&K State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission had the power to review its ex parte order and to restore the plea being dismissed for non-appearance.
However, the bench observed and has taken recourse to the observations of the Supreme Court judgment in the case Rajeev Hitendra Pathank and others Vs. Achyut Kasinath Karekar and another 2011 and has reiterated that the District Forums and State Commission had not been given any powers to set aside ex parte orders and power of review, and the powers cannot be exercised which have not been specially given by the Statute.
The bench also took a note of the fact that the J&K State Consumer Protection Act, 1987 which governed the proceedings of the complaint before the state Consumer Commission which clearly shows that the Commission does not have any power at all to restore the complaint dismissed for non-prosecution.
The bench while taking note of another associated fact mentioned in the impugned order that the same had been passed with the agreement of the counsel for the other side, i.e. petitioner herein, but was being disputed by the petitioner, wherein stating that it has never been agreed by the counsel for restoration of the complaint but had requested for adjournment in the matter, it was observed by the bench that the consent of a counsel will not give jurisdiction to the State Commission where it otherwise does not have it.
Accordingly, the bench set aside the impugned order and has allowed the petition.