I had a room in a building in Kalyan, which was in a dilapidated condition. Later on, in September 2021, it was acquired by the building authority for redevelopment and all the residents were evicted after giving them an alternate accommodation in the transit camp. Since I had already shifted to Khalapur with my family, I came to know about this in July, 2023. I approached the authority for an alternate accommodation, but they refused to give me any. Can they refuse me alternate accommodation, specially when they have already given it to the other residents?
Sadanand More, Khalapur
All the residents of your dilapidated building were evicted by the authority for redevelopment in September 2021, when you were residing at some other place and your house was vacant and locked and after more than a year, you approached the authority for alternate accommodation. Whenever the authority acquires and demolishes a building, before its eviction, it is mandatory to give an alternate accommodation to the occupiers of such building. The reason behind this is, the residents of such buildings should not become homeless. But the very fact that you were not residing at the place at the time of eviction makes it clear that you already had an alternate accommodation. As per section 51 of Area Development Act, 1976 such alternate accommodation can be offered “only to those persons who are occupiers of residential premises in the building, either as owner or tenant, and who are actually residing in the building at the time of their eviction”. Therefore, if you were not “actually residing” at the premises at the time of eviction, they can refuse to give you any such alternate accommodation.
I purchased a few cosmetic products of a renowned company from the market. But after coming home, I realised that they resemble very much the ones which I wanted to buy, but in reality, they all are fake. The shopkeeper is not ready to give me a refund.
Dhara Shah, Mumbai
You were sold fake cosmetic products by the shopkeeper, who has refused to take it back. So, if you want refund/ replacement, you can file a complaint before the National Consumer Helpline on toll free number 1800-11- 4000 or 1915. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has defined spurious goods as “goods which are falsely claimed to be genuine”. It has also defined “Unfair Trade Practice” as “making false representations that the goods are of a particular standard, quality, quantity, grade, composition, style or model”. Since this Act has provided for an action against the unfair trade practice, you can lodge your complaint before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for Unfair Trade Practices/Defective products, with a prayer for refund/replacement/ compensation/ withdrawal of such goods from the market. The District Commission has the power to grant punitive damages in such cases. You may also initiate an action under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, by lodging your complaint before the drug controller by following link https://cdsco.gov.in/openc ms/opencms/en/StateDrugs-Control/, 1940. This Act very specifically defines spurious cosmetics as, “an imitation of, or is a substitute for, another cosmetic or resembles another cosmetic in a manner likely to deceive or bears upon it or upon its label or container the name of another cosmetic, unless it is plainly or conspicuously marked so as to reveal its true character and its lack of identity with such other cosmetic”. Drugs and Cosmetics Act provides more stringent action against the importer, manufacturer, seller and stockist of such spurious cosmetics in the form of imprisonment and fine.
I met with an accident due to potholes in the road. Since I am a taxpayer, can I sue the authorities in consumer court for not maintaining the roads and deficiency in service?
Saurav Kasat, Mumbai
No, you cannot file a complaint in consumer court because it is an established position that the taxpayer is not a consumer.
(Dr Archana Sabnis is an expert on consumer laws who is practising at consumer disputes redressal fora at district, state and national levels since 2000. She is on the panel of conciliators of MahaRERA and is associated with the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.)