By Staff Member
In a significant ruling, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in New Delhi has clarified that complainants cannot simultaneously file complaints with both the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) and the consumer court for the same grievance. The decision aims to prevent the possibility of multiple proceedings and conflicting judgments involving the same parties and issues.
The NCDRC invoked the principle of “estoppel by election of remedy” to justify its ruling. This concept arises when multiple remedies are available for a particular issue, and pursuing one remedy precludes the concurrent use of another remedy for the same cause of action.
Justice Ram Surat Ram Maurya, along with NCDRC member Bharatkumar Pandya, emphasized the importance of making a clear choice when faced with multiple remedies. They noted that the intentional selection of one remedy over another bars the aggrieved party from pursuing the unselected remedy, based on the principle of ‘estoppel by election.’
The case in question pertained to delayed possession of two residential flats in Mumbai, with Kanoria Energy & Infrastructure Limited as the complainant and Macrotech Developers Ltd as the opposite party. The complainant had previously filed complaints under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) and explored other legal avenues, including the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
While the complainant argued that section 18 of the RERA Act allowed remedies under the Act “without prejudice to any other remedy,” the NCDRC rejected this argument, maintaining that pursuing both consumer court and RERA remedies for the same case was impermissible.
This ruling underscores the importance of choosing the appropriate forum for addressing real estate disputes and avoiding parallel proceedings. Complainants are advised to carefully assess their options and select the most suitable avenue for seeking redress to prevent potential conflicts and contradictions in judgments.