As a law firm, we would like to provide our informative and detailed opinion on the relevance of Section 34 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 in connection with Non Resident Indians (NRI).
Section 34 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 provides that an NRI is entitled to file a complaint through an authorized representative or by electronic means in case of unfair trade practices or defective goods/services. This provision is a significant relief for NRIs who face challenges in accessing justice due to geographical barriers and other logistical issues.
In this regard, it must be noted that NRIs have been recognized as consumers under the ambit of consumer protection laws. The definition of “consumer” under Section 2(7) includes any person who buys goods or services for consideration but does not include a person who purchases such goods or avails such services for commercial purposes. Therefore, NRIs fall within the purview of consumers as long as their purchase is meant for non-commercial use.
Furthermore, NRIs may face unique challenges when dealing with Indian companies providing goods/services from abroad. These difficulties can stem from differences in cultural norms and business practices which can result in disputes between parties. In such situations, filing complaints electronically or through an authorized representative becomes crucial for ensuring speedy resolution.
To support our stance on this matter under discussion, we cite several relevant provisions under this section:
1) An NRI can file a complaint against registered entities only.
2) If there are multiple complainants having similar grievances against one entity they may jointly file complaints.
3) The complaint has to be filed within two years from the date on which cause of action arose.
4) A promoter cannot make investments unless necessary approvals have been obtained.
Numerous judicial precedents exist that corroborate with our interpretation regarding Section 34’s applicability towards NRIs. One instance was observed recently where National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (“NCDRC”) held in case titled “Mandeep Singh & Anr vs. Jet Airways (India) Ltd.”, that the complainant who had availed services while being abroad was entitled to file a complaint before NCDRC.
Similarly, another judgment passed by Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in the matter of “Vinod Kumar Khanna Vs Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd” stated that NRIs do possess rights for filing consumer complaints through an authorized representative or by electronic means, provided under Section 34 of the Act.
In conclusion, we reiterate that Section 34 of Consumer Protection Act provides significant support to NRIs facing disputes concerning defective goods/services or unfair trade practices. It enables them to file complaints against Indian companies electronically and avail justice without geographical constraints thereby safeguarding their interests as bona fide consumers of India.