SRINAGAR, June 22: High Court today held that the cases regarding the erstwhile State Consumer Commission shall be heard and decided by it. However, fresh proceedings concerning the Commission shall be dealt with as provided in the Reorganization Act 2019.
The Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul while hearing the appeal filed by National Insurance Company challenging the award passed by the erstwhile State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) said, all the pending proceedings and appeals arising out of the orders or awards passed by the erstwhile SCDRC are to continue to be heard and decided by this court as if the unamended provision/Act is still in force.
“Therefore, the question raised by other-side regarding jurisdiction of this Court to hear and decide these pending appeals shall stand answered accordingly. We, however, make it clear here that all the fresh proceedings concerning consumer complaints/grievances as well as the appeals thereon shall be dealt with as per the mode and method prescribed in the newly changed scheme of law in the Union Territory of J&K, i.e the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 as provided in the J&K Reorganization Act 2019”, read the judgment.
The finding followed after the counsel appearing for Insurance Company submitted before the bench that the appeals pending before this Court out of the orders and judgments passed by the erstwhile SCDRC have to be transferred to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on the same lines as has been done in the case of the pending service matters which stand transferred to Central Administrative Tribunal is also devoid of any merit.
It may be noted that all the service matters pertaining to the employees of J&K and Ladakh have been recently transferred to Central Administrative Tribunal as the High Court in view of the Reorganization Act of 2019 has ceased to hear these cases.
Court said the appeals in question arising out of common order of erstwhile SCDRC are pending adjudication for the last more than seven years before the High Court and during their pendency of these appeal, the Parliament passed the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019 leading to formation of two new UTs.
Court said, with the enactment of the Reorganization Act, certain Central Laws were made applicable to both the UTs and various laws in vogue in the erstwhile State of J&K were repealed including J&K Consumer Protection Act, 1987 applicable to erstwhile State of J&K came to be repealed with Central Consumer Protection Act 198.
The DB turned down the arguments of Company’s counsel to transfer the appeals to National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for their disposal.
“Having regard to the above factual backdrop viz-a-viz the change in the scheme of law that has taken place with the enactment of the J&K Reorganization Act, coupled with the arguments advanced by the parties on this issue, it is not possible for us to accept the contention of counsel of Insurance Company that in absence of a ‘Saving Clause’ the pending proceedings as well as the jurisdiction of this court cannot be deemed to have been saved as the Central Government in Reorganization Act clearly saves the pending legal proceedings”, the DB said.
Court said, the general principle is that an Act of the Legislature which brought about a change in the scheme of law and forum would not affect pending proceedings, unless the intention to the contrary was clearly show in the Act of Legislature itself.
Refereeing Section 6 of the Act court said, it categorically envisage that the amendment of a Statute which is not retrospective in operation does not affect pending proceedings, except where amending provisions, expressly or by necessary intendment, provides otherwise.