ALI MOHAMMAD MAGREY,J. -
(1.)I. Common Cause: Since, all these three appeals, filed under Section 17 of the Jammu and Kashmir Consumer Protection Act, 1987, (now repealed in terms of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019), arise out of a common order dated 31 of May, 2013 (hereafter referred to as "?the impugned order"?) passed by the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (for short "the Commission"?) in complaint bearing No. 24/2014 titled 'Sajad Ahmad Malik v. Divisional Manager, National Insurance Company Ltd.', therefore, same are taken up together for their disposal under law. The parties to the lis shall be referred to as they appeared in the basic consumer complaint filed by the complainant before the Commission, viz. Sajad Ahmad Malik as the complainant; National Insurance Company Ltd. as the respondent No. 1; and Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. as the respondent No. 2.
(2.)II. Issue of jurisdiction of this Court: When these appeals were taken up for hearing on 4 of June, 2020, Mr. N.H. Khuroo, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the Oriental Insurance Company Ltd., raised an objection as regards the jurisdiction of this Court to hear and decide these appeals in view of the application of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir; leading to repealing of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Consumer Protection Act, 1987, in terms whereof this Court had the jurisdiction to hear the appeals against the orders passed by the Commission and coming into operation of the Central Consumer Protection Act, 1986. While registering the said objection, this Court heard the learned counsel for the parties; both on maintainability of these appeals qua jurisdiction of this Court as well as on merits.
(3.)Mr. Khuroo, in support of his objection regarding jurisdiction of this Court to hear these appeals, has invited the attention of this Court to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, which Act received the assent of the President of India on 9 of August, 2019. The Central Government declared the 31 day of October, 2019 as the appointed day for the purpose of the said Act vide S.O. No. 2898(E). This Act provided for the reorganization of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir in the shape of formation of two new Union Territories, viz. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with Legislature and Union Territory of Ladakh without Legislature, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereof. Table-1 of the Fifth Schedule of the Act aforesaid provides the details of the Central Laws made applicable to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh, including the Central Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Likewise, Table-3 of the same Schedule makes mention of such laws, as were prevalent in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, which were declared to have been repealed in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh, including the Jammu and Kashmir Consumer Protection Act, 1987. Mr. Khuroo, in the aforesaid backdrop, contends that since these appeals have been, admittedly, filed under Section 17 of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Consumer Protection Act, 1987, which Act stands repealed with the application of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, as such, this Court has no jurisdiction to hear these appeals. In order to buttress this argument, the learned counsel has referred to Section 17 of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Consumer Protection Act, 1987, which reads thus:
"Section 17 of the Jammu and Kashmir Consumer Protection Act, 1987:
Any person aggrieved by any order by the State Commission in exercise of its powers conferred by sub-clause(i) of clause (a) of section 15 may prefer an appeal against such order to the High Court within thirty days from the date of the order in such form and manner as may be prescribed:
[Provided that such appeal shall be heard by not less than two Judges of the High Court:
Provided further that the High Court may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period:
Provided also that no appeal shall lie unless the memorandum of appeal is accompanied by a certificate issued by the Chairman, State Commission to the effect that the appellant has deposited 25% of the amount payable under the order.]"