LE­GAL MAT­TERS

Buy­ing Houses for Com­mer­cial Pur­poses?

Consumer Voice - - Contents - Dr Prem Lata, Con­sumer Awak­en­ing For­mer Mem­ber, CDRF-Delhi

Con­sumer courts may not han­dle dis­putes

Any­body who files a com­plaint at the con­sumer fo­rum has to be a ‘con­sumer’ – in other words, an in­di­vid­ual should not file a com­plaint if the prod­uct or ser­vice con­cerned is for com­mer­cial pur­poses. Al­though the term ‘com­mer­cial pur­pose’ is not de­fined any­where in the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act, the jury panel, while de­cid­ing the main­tain­abil­ity of a com­plaint, does look at the pur­pose for which the in­di­vid­ual is procur­ing the prod­uct or the ser­vice in ques­tion. The jury of­ten dis­tin­guishes the per­sonal and the com­mer­cial pur­pose with the yard­stick of ‘profit and loss’ in­volved or the quan­tum of busi­ness.

In the pre­vi­ous is­sue (Au­gust 2015), in this sec­tion we had dis­cussed about cer­tain pa­ram­e­ters, or ‘main­tain­abil­ity cri­te­ria’, for any com­plaint to be ac­cepted for hear­ing at a con­sumer fo­rum. The ar­ti­cle cov­ered as­pects that you needed to know in or­der to en­sure that your com­plaint was not re­jected at the fo­rum.

In real es­tate mat­ters, property pur­chased for com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties such as shop­ping malls, shops, fac­tory plots, and in­dus­trial land in spe­cial eco­nomic zones are not han­dled in con­sumer fo­rums as they are com­pletely ‘com­mer­cial’ and out of the ju­ris­dic­tion of the con­sumer fo­rum.

Res­i­den­tial Property

Res­i­den­tial property falls within the ju­ris­dic­tion of con­sumer fo­rums as long as the con­sumer or the com­plainant is able to jus­tify that the property in ques­tion is only meant for per­sonal use.

Con­sid­er­ing that res­i­den­tial property is one of the com­mon­est in­vest­ments that peo­ple make – with expectations

It is es­sen­tial for the com­plainant to es­tab­lish the pur­pose of his property should there be a dis­pute. If he is buy­ing the property only to in­vest in it and sell it in fu­ture, then the pur­pose is cer­tainly com­mer­cial and the ap­peal in fo­rum is not

main­tain­able.

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