International companies are answerable to Indian consumer courts for service deficiency, the Supreme Court has ruled, upholding the apex consumer forum’s direction to a Lebanese international courier company to pay 71,615.75 US dollars compensation to a Mumbai-based firm. A bench of justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu said in a judgement that consumers within the definition of the Consumers Protection Act(CP) can avail remedy for deficiency in service from both consumer fora and regular courts.
“In our view, the protection provided under the C P Act to consumers is in addition to the remedies available under any other statute. It does not extinguish the remedies under another statute but provides an additional or alternative remedy.
“Further, we were not inclined to agree with the argument of Shri Bhagat that exercising jurisdiction was in contravention of international law as the Warsaw Convention and the Hague protocol have been incorporated into the domestic law by the passage of the C A Act.
“Therefore, we do not find any legal infirmity in the National Commission exercising its jurisdiction as the same can be considered a court within the territory of a high contracting party for the purpose of Rule 29 of the Second Schedule to the CA Act and the Warsaw Convention, Justice Dattu said writing the judgement.
The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing the appeal filed by Trans Mediterranean Airways challenging the NCDRC(National Consumers Disputes Redressal Commission) direction to pay M/s Universal Exports the said amount as compensation and Rs one lakh fine for dispatching a consignment of garments to a wrong address in Spain in August 1992.