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Minor Has Every Right to File Complaint till Attaining Majority, Rules MP Consumer Forum

By: Gautam Mishra

LawBeat

Last Updated: December 02, 2022, 00:15 IST

New Delhi, India

The bench noted that the complaint was filed by the maternal grandfather stating that the complainant is a minor while her father has remarried and did not take any action (Image: ANI/File)

The bench noted that the complaint was filed by the maternal grandfather stating that the complainant is a minor while her father has remarried and did not take any action (Image: ANI/File)

A minor filed a complaint through her maternal grandfather alleging medical negligence on part of a doctor, as her mother on giving birth to her at the doctor’s hospital became serious and died in 2013

A minor has every right to file a complaint till attaining majority, as also in between the time period a parent or a legal guardian can file a complaint on their behalf, the Madhya Pradesh state consumer redressal commission has recently held.

A bench of members AK Tiwari, Srikant Pandey, and DK Shrivastava passed the order in a revision petition filed by a doctor against the district consumer disputes redressal commission’s order, where the application filed for the condonation of delay has been allowed.

The original complaint was filed by a minor through her maternal grandfather alleging medical negligence on part of the doctor, as her mother after giving birth to her at the doctor’s hospital became serious and died in 2013. Since the complaint has been filed in 2021, an application for condonation of delay was filed and allowed by the district consumer redressal forum.

Appearing for the doctor, advocate Yash Jain submitted that only upon sympathy, delay cannot be condoned as the expression “sufficient cause” cannot be erased from Section 5 of the Limitation Act and Section 69(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. Jain further submitted that the limitation of two years is a legislative command in the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which cannot be ignored let alone without sufficient cause.

Furthermore, Jain argued that as per Section 6 of the Limitation Act, a minor or insane, or an idiot, may institute the suit or make the application within the same period after the disability has ceased, which in this case was after attaining majority. However, the complainant was a minor (seven years old) at the time of filing the complaint.

However, the counsel appearing for the complainant submitted that the district commission has rightly allowed the application for condonation of delay in filing the complaint as the complainant is minor and the complaint is filed by her guardian.

Perusing the definition of “complainant”, the court said in the case of a minor, the complaint can be filed by a parent or legal guardian.

Thereafter, while going through section 69 of the Consumer Protection Act, the bench noted that there should be some sufficient cause for not filing the complaint within such a period and the district commission may record its reason for condoning the delay.

Furthermore, the bench noted that the complaint has been filed by the maternal grandfather stating that the complainant is a minor and her father has remarried, and since her father did not take any action, he has filed the present complaint before the district commission.

The court said this clearly goes to show that her father has remarried and lost interest in his daughter, therefore, her maternal grandfather has filed the complaint. Section 69 of the Act gives power to the district commission, state commission, or the national commission, as the case may be, to condone the delay where the sufficient cause for not filing the complaint within the stipulated time period has been shown and the commission is satisfied with the reasons given for such delay.

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first published:December 02, 2022, 00:09 IST
last updated:December 02, 2022, 00:15 IST
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