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Consumer Complaint Against A Common Carrier Not Maintainable Without Serving It A Prior Notice: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court observed that a consumer complaint against a common carrier is not maintainable if prior notice under Section 6 of Carriers Act, 1865, is not served on it. Notice is required to be served prior to initiation of proceedings and not the proceedings itself, the bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and AS Bopanna observed. In this case, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission upheld the order of Himachal Pradesh Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission allowing a consumer complaint against the Associated Road Carriers. Before the Apex Court, in appeal, the Career contended that, in terms of Section 10 of Carriers Act, 1865, no prior notice was served upon it and thus the complaint before the Consumer Fora was not maintainable. The Carriers Act is a law which deals with the rights and liabilities of Common Carriers. The Act defines ‘common carrier” as a person, other than the Government, engaged in the business of transporting property under multi nodal transport document or of transporting for hire property from place to place, by land or inland navigation, for all persons indiscriminately.

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