A Consumer is the backbone of the Indian Economy by purchasing the goods and
services provided to them; therefore, it is necessary to protect their
interests. It is the right of the consumers to receive standard quality
products. But in certain situations, these consumers become the victim of the
profound deficiency of goods and services. Thus a Consumer Court was established
under Consumer Protection Act, 1986 to provide timely and effective adjudication
of disputes connected to Consumers. The Consumer Courts are formed at three
levels: District, State, and National Level, depending upon the monetary
valuation fixed by Law.
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, got the presidential assent on 9th August
2019, and it came into effect from 20th July 2020, replacing the old Consumer
Protection Act, 1986. For the speedy and effective disposal of consumer cases,
the New Act introduced online filing of complaints and meditation proceedings.
Who can file a complaint in a Consumer Court?
- A consumer [The person who has purchased goods or has availed some
services for personal use only in exchange for money]
- Voluntary consumer association Any registered association under the
Companies Act, 1956, or under any other law
- One or more consumers who have the same interest
- In cases of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative.
- The Central or the State Government
The procedure to file a complaint in the Consumer CourtStep 1: Intimation via Notice
It is advisable for the aggrieved party to send a notice to the opposite party
before filing a complaint to communicate the Complainant's intentions about the
deficiency in service or defects in goods. This notice attempts to settle the
dispute without approaching the court, i.e., if the opposite party is willing to
offer any remedy for the damage caused.
Step 2: Draft the Consumer Complaint
If the opposite party provides no remedy, then a formal complaint is filed under
the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. This step can even be done without a lawyer.
These details must be specified in the formal Complaint:
Step 3: Attaching Relevant Documents
- Name, description and the address of the Complainant (s) and the
Opposite Party or parties.
- Cause of Action, the approximate date, time and venue.
- Relevant facts relating to the cause of action.
- The Relief or Remedy claimed by the Complainant in accordance with the
facts of the case.
- Signature and Verification by the Complainant or his authorized agent.
All the relevant documents and material evidence supporting the case must be
These documents may include:
A receipt of delivery, copy of the bill, Warranty/Guarantee certificates, record
of online booking of the goods bought, packaging of a product, a copy of the
written Complaint and notice sent to the seller/manufacturer.
Step 4: Appropriate Forum
Decide the forum in accordance with the pecuniary jurisdiction for filing the
Complaint, which is estimated in reference to the total valuation of goods and
services fixed by Law.
Step 5: Court Fees
The requisite Court fee has to be paid along with the Complaint filed depending
on the forum. This fee depends on the value of goods bought and the amount of
Step 6: Submit an Affidavit
The Complainant also has to submit an affidavit in the Consumer Court. The
affidavit must include the facts presented and the statements made by the
consumer are true to his knowledge.
How to approach Consumer Forum
How to approach the District Consumer Forum?
Here, the Complaint can be made on a plain notarized paper and can be filed by a
complainant or authorized agent. The Complainant needs to file four additional
copies for each party. The requisite Court Fee is Nil for people holding
Antyodaya Anna Yojana cards for valuation of suit upto 1 lakh and in other cases
is Rs. 100. The court fee is Rs 200 for suits valued upto 5 lakhs, Rs 400 for
suits valued upto 10 lakhs, and Rs. 500 for value upto Rs 20 lakhs. This fee has
to be submitted through a demand draft to the President, Consumer Disputes
Redressal Forum (name of) district.
How to approach the State Consumer Forum?
Here, the Complaint must be filed, deciding the pecuniary jurisdiction limit
fixed by Law. The Court Fee is Rs 2,000 for complaints valued between Rs 20
lakhs and Rs 50 lakhs and is Rs 4,000 for value upto Rs 1 Crore. This fee is
deposited via a demand draft in favour of the Registrar, (name of) State
Commission payable in that particular State only.
How to approach the National Consumer Forum?
Here, the Complainant can either file a complaint directly, if it is within the
pecuniary jurisdiction or file an appeal from the order of State Forum within 30
days of passing of the order. The requisite fee for filing a complaint is Rs
5,000, and the demand draft is to be made in the name of The Registrar, National
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, but no fee is required for appealing
before State or National Commission.
Complainant may approach the Supreme Court against the orders of the National
Forum within a period of 30 days of the passing of the order.
Online Filing of Consumer Complaint
The New Act of 2019 introduces the option of "Online Filing" of Consumer
Complaint for speedy disposal of cases. The Institution of Consumer Complaint
happens in a similar way as mentioned above, but everything is performed online:
Step 1: Issuance of Notice
This notice is sent to the opposite party before filing the formal Complaint.
Step 2: Determining the Jurisdiction
It is necessary to file the Complaint within the Pecuniary and Territorial
Step 3: Submission of Complaint
The Complainant can register complaints on https://consumerhelpline.gov.in/.
Here, the Complaint can be submitted in the form of Writing or Online. The
Complainant will receive his login credentials and then file the Complaint by
filing in all the necessary details. He can even file through the Mobile App
NCH, Umang or Consumer App.
Fees for the Complaint can be submitted through the online payment portal.
Step 4: Contents of the Complaint
The Complaint must contain all the necessary information attaching the relevant
documents as discussed above.
Step 5: Limitation for filing Complaint/Appeal:
The Complainant must file the Complaint before the District Commission within
two years from the date of the dispute. The appeal must be filed within
forty-five days from the date of order of the District Commission before the
State Commission. Further, an appeal to the National Commission must be made
within thirty days from the date of the order from the lower forum.
The New Act of 2019 introduces an Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism for
consumer cases' speedy and effective redressal.
The Initiation of Mediation Proceedings can be done if the commission is
convinced that there is a probability of settlement of the dispute, then it can
be sent to the Mediation Cell. This request can be made to District, State or
National Commission mentioning the nature of the dispute, details of the parties
involved, amount of dispute, relief sorted and Proposal for appointment of
Mediator [Qualification, Language, experience, etc.]
The Consumer Courts have proved to be the finest ways to protect the interests
of the consumers and provide them with a remedy by addressing their grievances.
It is a very cost-effective and easy measure to file a complaint as compared to
the other forms of litigation. The territorial jurisdiction plays an important
role in deciding which district forum a consumer can approach.
has taken a huge step in speedily resolving consumers' grievances by introducing
the online form of Complaint through the New Act of 2019. During the pandemic,
this online measure can prove to be a very user friendly and productive
procedure. The introduction of Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism through
Mediation proceedings was a step towards achieving a peaceful settlement of
dispute between the parties involved, which would have had a huge impact on both
the service provider and the consumer in the long term. Therefore, this
resolution mechanism through Mediation had saved the parties from the long,
tedious procedure by helping them resolve the issue in the initial stage itself.