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National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): A Single Member Bench of NCDRC presided by V.K. Jain, J. upheld the order of State Commission of Haryana granting relief of about Rs two lakh from the Indian Farmers Fertilizers Cooperative Limited (IFFCO, the petitioner) for selling “adulterated” seeds to two farmers who suffered financial losses due to poor yield.

According to the complainant farmers, they were assured by the petitioner that the seeds would give proper yield of 8 to10 quintals per acre. On poor yield, they made complainants to the Agriculture Department which carried out an inspection and found the plants to be of different variety and about 60-70% of the plants with high growth without any fruits. The complainants approached the  District Forum concerned. Their claims were denied by the District Forum but were upheld by the State Commission on appeal. Aggrieved petitioner approached NCRDC.

The emphasis of the petitioner’s arguments was that that despite circular dated 03.01.2002, the Agriculture Department did not associate representative of the Seed Agency and the Scientists of KGK/KVK, HAU in the inspection and the report was prepared at the back of the petitioner without any notice to it.

Commission relied on its own decision in Reliance Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. v. Umesh Singh Chandan Singh Saddiwal, 2016 SCC OnLine NCDRC 78 and Apex’s Court judgment in Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co. Ltd. v. Alavalapati Chandra Reddy, (1998) 6 SCC 738. The Commission held that the failure of the Seed Inspector or for that matter District Level Enquiry Committee to follow the procedure under Seed Act or Rules thereunder cannot be fatal to a complaint, filed under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act. Hence, such failure cannot lead to dismissal of a Consumer Complaint, if the complainant is otherwise able to prove his case. Commission also noted that there is no way by which a farmer can compel the seed inspector or the committee to follow the said procedure. [IFFCO v. Vijay Kumar, Revision Petition No. 912 of 2018, order dated 14-06-2018]