What You Need to Understand in a Revisional Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi in a recent case of Sunil Kumar MaityV/S State Bank of India, in a civil appeal 432 of 2022 decided on 21th Jan 2022, made a very strong comment against the order of NCDRC and explained the concept of Revisional Power to the courts.

Dr Prem Lata

Let’s check what all are done in the Revisional provision in the Act.

  • To call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any State Commission where it appears to the National Commission that such State Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.
  • To call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any State Commission where it appears to the National Commission that such State Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.

Particulars of the Case

Sunil Kr. Maity had a saving account number in a bank since January 2000. Later the account number was changed on 24.02.2010. The complainant went to deposit a sum of Rs.500 in the bank on 15.09.2012, when the bank staff informed him that the account number had again been changed and wrote a different account number on his passbook. Sunil Maity then deposited Rs. 500 in the account given. On 16.01.2013, the complainant deposited a cheque for Rs.3, 00,000 drawn on SBI but later on 11.12.2013 found balance of Rs. 59 only. On enquiry, the bank informed the complainant that there was another customer by the name of Sunil Maity whose account number was wrongly given to the complainant. The said Sunil Maity had withdrawn the sum of Rs. 1, 00,000 and Rs. 2, 00,000 respectively from that account number.

Verdicts by District Forum and the State Commission

The Consumer Forum made order in favour of complainant. The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) in appeal upheld the order of the Consumer Forum except to the extent of fine imposed. A revision petition was filed before NCDRC by the Bank.

Judgment by NCDRC  

  • NCDRC dismissed the complaint. It also suggested they approach the civil court, the case being a complicated question requiring evidence.
  • The National Commission had called for a report on the whole matter from the SBI in the form of six more evidences.
  • Reports were sought from the officers.

NCDRC grossly erred in observing that the complainant would be at liberty to seek remedy in the competent Civil Court and filing application under Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963. Disagreeing with this approach, the bench restored the order passed by the State Commission. 

Background of the Concept of Revision in Earlier Judgments

Various earlier judgments on the issue are relevant to understand the difference between the APPEAL and REVISION before choosing the remedy for redressal of grievance.

  • Appeal gives the consumer to open his case before the higher court on all counts –facts of the case, law applied and evidence recorded. Everything is to be judged by the appellant court as to whether lower court has considered all the material placed on record and had applied the law laid down in correct manner. However, the complainant cannot obtain any new facts or evidence at this stage, can only emphasize the facts earlier said which could not be considered by the lower court. This is the general principal of law.
  • Revision is mainly on the point of jurisdiction of the court /forum and higher court is not to look into the matter in detail about facts, evidence, etc. This remedy can be invoked even before any order passed by the lower court/forum if forum had no jurisdiction to deal with the case and while exercising the revisional jurisdiction, higher court may issue appropriate directions also to the lower court /forum
  • The difference between appeal and revision has been clarified by the apex court on number of occasions. Supreme Court had defined the distinction as back as in 1995 while dealing in the matter of Lachhman Dass vs Santokh Singh, wherein it was held- “An appeal is a continuation of proceedings wherein the entire proceedings are again left open for consideration by the appellant authority. But in the case of revision, it has no power to reassess the evidence unless the statute expressly provides.”
  • The same version is repeated by the Calcutta high court in the matter of Ajay Bhandra V State Consumer Dispute Redressed Commission, West Bengal and also by the Bombay High Court in the matter of R B Upadhyaya V State Commission for Consumer Dispute Mumbai.

It has made two things clear.

  • First, a final order passed under this act is revisable under Section 17 and also appealable under Section 15 of the act.
  • Second, there is a clear distinction between the revisional power and appellant power as already discussed above.

Supreme Court in the above referred case of Sunil Kumar Maity has confirmed its earlier stand explaining once again that Revisionary jurisdiction carves limitation of the commission to act within the provisions without going beyond it. This judgment is a milestone in the consumer jurisprudence keeping in view the same provision under the new act 2019 under section 58(1)9b as reproduced above.

Share This
Enquire Now

    X
    Enquire Now