At, Union Territory Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission UT Chandigarh
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE K.K. SRIVASTAVA
By, THE HONOURABLE MRS. DEVINDERJIT DHATT
By, MEMBER & THE HONOURABLE MR. MAJ. GEN. S.P. KAPOOR
For the Appellant: Ashok Jain, Advocate. For the Respondent: Arvind Bansal, Advocate.
K.K. Srivastava, President:
1. This appeal is directed against order dated 25.2.2002 passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II, U.T., Chandigarh (for short hereinafter referred to as the District Forum-II) in Complaint Case No. 1090 of 1996. The District Forum-II disposed of the complaint with a direction to the complainant, if so advised, he may file a regular civil suit in a Civil Court of competent jurisdiction to establish the right against the O.P. and to seek appropriate relief against it.
2. Mr. Ashok Jain, Advocate appearing for the appellant/complainant contended that the sole dispute in this case relating to the refund of a sum of Rs. 25,000/- by the respondent-World Wide Immigration Consultancy Services Ltd. (for short hereinafter referred to as the WWICS) to the complainant which was paid by the appellant/complainant as retainer fees for the hiring and availing of the service of the respondent in arranging for immigration and other facilities for the wife of the appellant to go to Canada. The wife of the appellant, namely Mrs. Renu Wahi is M.D. in Gynaecology. It is alleged that the respondent through Lt. Col. B. S. Sandhu (Retd.), President of WWICS had discussion with the appellant and assured him that his wife could work as an Assistant to any Doctor in Canada and thereafter she could herself get some good job or may practice herself in Canada. It is alleged that the complainant after discussing the matter with his wife and one of his friend decided to apply for immigration to Canada and hired and availed the services of the respondent and executed a Fee Agreement and deposited a sum of Rs. 25,000/- as retainer fees against receipt dated 14.12.1995. Later on the respondent is said to have informed the wife of the appellant that there was no scope for her in Canada and as a result of this, the appellant approached the respondent with the request that the case be not taken up with the authorities of the High Commission of Canada regarding the grant of immigration papers. However, the application of the appellant was forwarded to the High Commission of Canada where it was received and allotted a number on 22.1.1996. Several letters were written regarding it including letter dated 10.1.1996 which were duly acknowledged by the O.P. in its letter dated 23.1.1996. The respondent offered their assistance in getting some amounts paid to the Canada High Commission refunded such as right of landing fee. However, as far as refund of Rs. 25,000/- paid as retainer fees is concerned, it was mentioned, inter alia as under :
'As far as refund of Rs. 25,000/- to you, as per the clause of the Fee Agreement it is not permissible. You are requested to let us know about your decision.'
3. Mr. Ashok Jain, Advocate contended that the sole dispute between the appellant/complainant and the respondent is about the refund of the amount of a sum of Rs. 25,000/- and this fact cannot be said by any stretch of imagination to be a complicated matter or raising intricate question of fact and law which the District Forum-II could not decide in the summary jurisdiction conferred on it by the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (for short hereinafter referred to as the C.P. Act).
4. The learned Counsel for the respondent though initially tried to take us through the relevant defence on merit, later on appreciated the controversy involved in the appeal and he was unable to contend that the question of refund of a sum of Rs. 25,000/- paid as a retainer fees under the Fee Agreement was such an intricate question of fact and law which require a full-dressed trial by a Civil Court of competent jurisdiction in a properly instituted civil suit. That being so and since the District Forum-II did not enter into the merit of the consumer dispute regarding the refund of Rs. 25,000/- on the finding that the complainant should file a civil suit, the complaint case deserves to be sent back to the District Forum-II for deciding the aforesaid dispute relating to the refund of Rs. 25,000/- which in our considered view is well covered by the scope of the C.P. Act. The appellant is undoubtedly a consumer who has hired and availed the service of the respondent by paying a sum of Rs. 25,000/- as retainer fee under the Fee Agreement and the respondent is a provider of the service. The short question which is to be decided is about the right of the appellant to claim a refund of Rs. 25,000/- or the right of the O.P. to retain the said amount with them under the Fee Agreement. It is also to be considered whether the alleged action in not refunding the amount of Rs. 25,000/- could amount to defic
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iency in service or for that matter unfair trade practice. 5. Resultantly, the appeal is allowed. The impugned order is set aside. The complaint case is remanded to the District Forum-II, U.T., Chandigarh with the direction that the parties shall appear before the District Forum-II, U.T., Chandigarh on 9.9.2002. The District Forum-II shall hear the submissions/arguments of the complainant and the O.P. and pursue to decide the complaint case within one month from the date aforesaid i.e. 9.9.2002 positively.