Trust can not file complaint under the Consumer Protection Act 1986 – Supreme Court

Trust can not file complaint under the Consumer Protection Act 1986. Supreme Court express its agreement with the National Commission.

complaint under the Consumer Protection Act

ABCAUS Case Law Citation:
ABCAUS 1161 (2017) (03) SC

Question for determination:
whether a complaint can be filed by a Trust under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (‘the Act’).

Brief Facts of the Case:
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission ( National Commission’) had answered the above referred question in the negative. Aggrieved by the order of the National Commission, the petitioner had filed this Civil Appeal.

Observations made by the Supreme Court:
It was observed that the section 2 (c) of the Act provides for a complainant making a complaint, inter alia, for an unfair trade practice or a restrictive trade practice adopted by any trader or service provider; a complaint in respect of goods (bought by a complainant) suffering from one or more defects; a complaint of deficiency in services hired or availed of by a complainant and so on. A complainant is defined in Section 2 (b) of the Act in the following words :-

(b) “complainant” means –

(i) a consumer; or

(ii) any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act,1956 (1 of 1956) or under any other law for the time being in force; or

(iii) the Central Government or any State Government; or

(iv) one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest;

(v) in case of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative ; who or which makes a complaint;

According to the Hon’ble Court it is quite clear from the above definition of a complainant that it does not include a Trust. To the question if a Trust come within the definition of a consumer?, the Court, after considering the definition of the ‘consumer’ as per Section 2 (d) of the Act opined that reading of the definition of the words ‘complaint’, ‘complainant’ and ‘consumer’ makes it clear that a Trust cannot invoke the provisions of the Act in respect of any allegation on the basis of which a complaint could be made.

The Court further observed that to put this beyond any doubt, the word ‘person’ has also been defined in the Section 2(m) which do not include a reference to a Trust. Thus the Court opined that on a plain and simple reading of all the above provisions of the Act it is clear that a Trust is not a person and therefore not a consumer. Consequently, it cannot be a complainant and cannot file a consumer dispute under the provisions of the Act.


The Hon’ble Supreme Court opined its agreement with the National Commission and held that the  National Commission was quite right in holding that the complaint filed by the appellant Trust was not maintainable.

complaint under the Consumer Protection Act

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