Consumer Court: progress at last!

By Abhijit Menon-Sen <ams@toroid.org>

2011-01-05

I was #20 in a very long cause list at the District Consumer Forum this morning. In my previous appearance, I was asked to file evidence ex parte because no opposing parties appeared in court despite repeated announcements.

Digression: filing evidence

It took me a while to understand how to file evidence. I asked in the office at the Consumer Forum, but was told only to go to Karkardooma District Court, where "someone would help me". I went and stopped the first lawyer I saw (black coat, white shirt), and he was kind enough to look over my complaint and tell me exactly what I needed to do: compose an affidavit that restates my complaint as a deposition, and have it attested by an Oath Commissioner (and not just a Notary Public).

I found several Oath Commissioners sitting in a hallway, and one of them pointed me to a "computer guy" who would print out my affidavit for him to attest. I had my complaint on a USB stick, and it took only half an hour or so (after the many lawyers ahead of me had finished their work) to cut-and-paste the details of my complaint into a previous filing. I paid INR100 to the computer guy (INR15/page for not-quite-7 pages), and INR10 to the Oath Commissioner.

I then prepared three complete sets of the affidavit with all the evidence (which were "annexures" in the original complaint, but turned into "exhibits" at this stage).

Exide's response

When I was called to appear today, someone from Exide was present. As I had suspected might happen, it turns out that Exide's counsel did appear in court the last time, after I had already left. They filed a response to my complaint, of which I received a copy only today.

The response begins:

The instant Complaint is a gross abuse of the process of law and has been filed by the alleged Complainant with the sole purpose of harassing and pressurizing the Answering Respondent to submit to its unreasonable and mischievous demands. The instant Complaint is based on false, frivolous and baseless facts solely to suit the illegal designs of the alleged Complainant.

It continues on for a long time in the same vein, alleging repeatedly that I have "unclean hands", and making "vehement" and "categorical" denials of everything in my complaint (including a couple of facts of record).

I have been asked to file a rejoinder at the beginning of March. I shall think about how to proceed.