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S S Bhatia

151 Aarti CGHS


Petitioner
Plot no.1A, Sector- 2
Dwarka,
New Delhi-110075

HDFC Bank
Respondent

BACKGROUND
Supreme Courts ruling that Multiplicity of proceedings
has to be avoided has widely been applied. The ruling
has been used differently in the case under reference.
The ruling was used against the Petitioner who had filed
a claim of deficiencies in service and causing financial
loss against the Respondent (HDFC Bank) in District
Consumer Court whereas the same was not applied in
the Trial Court and no decision was taken on this ruling
in the Trial Court where a case was filed subsequently
by the Respondent for recovery of their dues from
Petitioner. The Consumer Forum had not given any
decision because a case in the Trial Court was pending
against the Petitioner. In the Trial Court the Petitioner (S
S Bhatia) had submitted that the Trial Court should not
admit the recovery suit of the Respondent because a
claim against the Respondent was in progress in the
Consumer Forum. The Trial Court did not give any
decision on this point and also not even granted leave
to defend the case to the Petitioner in the Trial Court
with the observations that mere filing of a case in the
Consumer Forum was not a trivial issue.

DATE WISE EVENTS


19-02-2007
Petitioner (S S Bhatia) filed a claim in the District
Consumer Forum against the Respondent for Rs.
20000/- being the difference of the value of the
surrendered vehicle being more than Rs. 2 lacs and Rs.
180000/- being the amount outstanding against
refinanced fresh loan sanctioned for Rs. 195000/- but
disbursement made short to the tune of about 30% of
due amount.

_____________
In the District Consumer Forum, the case, after replies
from the Respondent and rejoinders of the Petitioners,
had reached final argument stage. It had become clear
that the case would be decided in favour of the
Petitioner. To jeopardise the proceedings in the
Consumer Forum the Respondent wanted to move to
the Civil Court for recovery of the amount of
outstanding being non- payment of EMIs against the
fresh loan of Rs.195000/- and also interest, penalties
and other undue charges of re- procession and parking
charges of the vehicle.
As per recordings in order sheets the District Consumer
Forum had decided on 22-06-2009 to announce the
decision on 04-08-2009 at 12:30 p.m. Before the
decision could be announced a senior advocate, Shri
O.P. Shishodia representing the Respondent approached
the District Consumer Forum, when the opposite party
was not present, and had influenced not to give the
decision because a case of recovery was pending in
Civil Court who would decide in the matter taking into
consideration the issues being looked into by the
District Consumer Forum. Under influence of the
unethical approach of the advocate the Consumer
Forum did not announce the verdict and ended with the
observations that the sale of the vehicle for Rs.41000/-
was for a very meagre amount and left to the Civil
Court to decide after taking into consideration the
procedure of auction followed by the Respondent. The
Consumer Forum accepted the principle of Multiplicity
of proceedings has to be avoided in a wrong way
because when the case had been filed first in the
Consumer Forum the rule should not have been applied
because a case of recovery had been filed by the
Respondent in the Civil Court subsequent to the case
filed by the Petitioner in the Consumer Forum. Appeal in
State Consumer Forum and National Consumer Forum
had been filed against the orders of the District
Consumer Forum but the same had been dismissed by
quoting that Multiplicity of the proceeding has to be
avoided. Even the SC had not intervened to uphold
that this ruling should not have been applied and
dismissed the petition against the orders of the
National Consumer Forum.
Against the notice dated 09-07-2007 of the Respondent
the Pet. had replied wide letter dated 16-07-2007
asking the Resp. to withdraw the notice because a case
against the Resp. had already been in progress in the
District Consumer Forum and they should desist from
filing a case in Civil Court. This would tantamount
contempt of the Consumer Forum.

_______________
Despite all this Resp. filed a case against Petitioner for
recovery in Civil Court under rule XXXVII CPC
concealing the facts from the Court that a claim case
had already been filed in the District Consumer Forum
against the Resp. The fact had been concealed in the
affidavit given that no material facts had been
concealed. If the fact had not been concealed it was
possible that the Resp. would not have been able to file
the recovery suit. Besides other important facts like
issue of notice dated 04-09-2006 cancelling the loan by
giving wrong reasons and calling for the vehicle without
following instructions of the High Court that two written
reminders for non- payment of EMIs and obtaining a
Civil Courts orders for impounding of a vehicle had
been concealed from the Court.
_____________
Petitioner had responded to the notice and had
submitted before Trial Court that the suit of the Resp.
should be dismissed because a claim against the Resp.
had already been filed in District Consumer Forum. A
copy of the claim along with its enclosures of notices
issued by Resp. and replies thereto by letters by the
Pet. had been submitted. Pet. had also asked for grant
of leave to defend the case.

_______________
Ld Trial Court had not granted leave to defend by
observing arbitrarily that mere filing of case in the
Consumer Forum was not a trivial issue even when a
certified copy of the orders of the District Consumer
Forum had been submitted to the Trial Court. As per the
orders of the District Consumer Forum it was left to the
Trial Court to decide on the issues of following proper
procedures of auction by the Respondent and also the
meagre sale proceeds of Rs. 41000/- which was
considered to be very low .Ld Trial court had not given
any verdict/ comments on the legal point that the ruling
of the SC that Multiplicity of the proceedings has to be
avoided has not been followed.
Besides Ld Trial Court had quoted the ruling under
which, as per para 5, even when the defence is
moonshine leave to defend could be granted with
conditions as decided by the Trial Court. As such leave
to defend should have been granted with conditions, if
any, maximum being deposit of security for the amount
of the claim.

______________
Trial Courts order were appealed against and Appl.
Court had admitted the appeal and granted stay on the
execution of orders of Trial Court.

14-07-2015
As per oral orders of the Appl. Court a written
submission had been given. The Appl. Court had
ordered grant of additional leave to defend on account
of natural justice because Petitioner had not been
provided opportunity for proper presentation of case in
either side of Consumer Forum and Civil Court. Replies
were to be filed within ten days in Trial Court. Appl.
Court had not given any verdict on the issue of the
ruling of the SC regarding Multiplicity of the
proceedings has to be avoided.

22-07-2015
Detailed para wise replies to the main suit filed by the
Respondent had been submitted by the Petitioner in the
Trial Court and notice was issued to the respondent for
their replies/ rejoinders.

___________
Instead of responding to the replies in the Trial Court
the Respondent approached Delhi High Court for
quashing of the orders of the Appl. Court and the same
was obtained on the ground that no addition/change
was possible to submissions/ decision of the Trial Court
under rule XXXVII CPC.

28/11/2016
Petitioner aggrieved by orders of the High Court
submitted a petition to the Supreme Court by
submitting complete facts of the case. The petition was
dismissed.

GROUNDS FOR REVIEW


The ruling of the SC that Multiplicity of the
proceedings has to be avoided has wrongly been used
against the petitioner while deciding petitions in the
Consumer Forums at District, State, National level and
Supreme Court levels whereas no decision has been
taken by Trial Court, Appl. Court, Delhi High Court and
Supreme Court for applying the same ruling against the
Respondent. Review is solicited to the Supreme Court in
view of the above mentioned submissions to avoid
miscarriage of justice to the Petitioner.