National Commission dismissed a petition saying that Consumers can’t use Consumer Protection Act as a tool to create “nuisance value” in government offices. The order was passed in a very peculiar case in August, 2018, where an unemployed youth sought damages amounting to Rs. 87 Crore from Employment Exchange for non-supply of information on unemployment allowance under the RTI ACT. The petition was eventually dismissed by the National Commission however it stopped itself from imposing a hefty penalty on him as the youth was unemployed and undereducated.
The interesting fact of the case is that the youth had applied for information on unemployment allowance from the official of the Employment Exchange under the RTI Act. It was contended by him that he had spent Rs. 865/- besides expenditure on purchase of postal orders. The information sought was not provided. Hence, it was a deficiency in service. On the other hand, the Employment Exchange contended that it provided free services thus; the youth was not a consumer under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Further, it contended that he also did not file appeal under the RTI Act for information. The Employment Exchange further contended that the minimum qualification for unemployment allowance was 10+2 whereas the complainant was only a matriculate thus; there was no deficiency in service of any kind.
The District Forum and State Commission rejected the complaint/appeal on the ground that no RTI application was received by the Employment Exchange and the youth failed to provide the same. The youth however, moved to National Commission where the Commission dismissed the case of the youth holding that it is unable to locate substance in the arguments provided by the youth. The Commission said that the youth asked for compensation of Rs. 87 Crore from the Employment Exchange Department. He also stated that he had visited their offices 200–240 times. Further, the Commission said that the youth had made various additional/digressive submissions even when the fundamental issue of fact on which the entire case was based had been found to be false.
The National Commission pointed out that it is clearly evident that the youth is attempting to misuse the statutory processes provided for better protection of the interest of consumers to create for himself a ‘nuisance value’ in the Employment Exchange and its offices. It referred to the dismissal of vexatious and frivolous complaints which provides for maximum penalty of Rs. 10,000/- However, the Commission stopped itself just because youth is an unemployed undereducated young person and directed him to pay Rs. 100 in any registered charity of his choice.
It is crystal clear from the above order of the National Commission that anyone who will try to take advantage of the Act adopted for the protection and betterment of consumers will be charged for filing frivolous complaints. No one has the right to waste time and resources of Courts and anyone who does so shall be fined be heavy penalty to desist from misusing the statutory processes provided for the protection of consumers. This is a stern advice for consumers that Consumer Protection Act is not a tool to create “nuisance value” in government offices.