Consumer Fora Guidelines

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 18 Dec 2017 12:49:20


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the pressing issues, which needs to be dealt with forthwith, is the vacancy of the post of Registrar of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.The Additional Solicitor General left the issue of recommendation to the Chairman of the National Commission, who will be at liberty to suggest the name of an appropriate individual, for the post of Registrar of the National Commission.

WHILE considering the appeal filed by the Principal Secretary, Uttar Pradesh in the Supreme Court for direction to All UP Consumer Protection Bar Associations, a 3-judge Bench of the Court ,consisting of the CJI Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice Dr D Y Chandrachud have declared the Court’s firm intent to tackle the problem of paucity of infrastructure for consumer fora across the Country and keeping that in mind, on December 15, 2017, it has “requested” the Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh to assist the Court in formulating appropriate directions to ensure that proper infrastructure is made available at all levels of the consumer fora in the country. With this decision, the Court adjourned the proceedings to January 30, 2018, to consider implementation of the Court’s decisions of November 21, 2016.


On January 14, while dealing with the paucity of infrastructure in the consumer fora all over the country, the Apex Court had constituted a three Member Committee consisting of Dr Justice Arijit Pasayat, former Judge at the Supreme Court, Ms Justice Rekha Sharma, former Judge, Delhi High Court and the Union Consumer Affairs Secretary or his nominee.


The Committee was entrusted with the tasks of examining the infrastructural requirements of the respective State Commissions and any other aspect considered relevant by the Committee. The tasks entrusted to the Committee were to examine:


1. The infrastructural requirements of the respective State Commissions in terms of office space for presiding officers, members and the support staff and whether the same has been provided for. In case the requirement is not satisfied, what is the extent of deficiency and possible ways and means of removing the same.
2. The vacancy position of President/ Members/ Presiding Officers in the National Commission, State Commissions and the District fora and the steps that need to be taken for ensuring that vacancies are filled-up on a timely basis.
3. Need for additional Benches of the National Commission, State Commissions and the District fora in the States in any one of them giving regard to workload and the difficulties/inconvenience which a consumer dispute litigant has to face to access the National Commission, State Commissions and/or District fora. The Committee was requested to forward its deliberations to State Governments, on the completion of their deliberations qua each State to facilitate appropriate steps in a time bound manner.
Thereafter, on November 21, 2016, the Court issued the following directions :
( i ) The Union Govt shall for the purpose of ensuring uniformity in the exercise of the rule making power under section 10 (3) and section 16 (2) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 frame model rules for adoption by the State Governments. The model rules shall be framed within 4 months and shall be submitted to the Supreme Court for its approval;
(ii) The Union Govt shall also frame within 4 months model rules prescribing objective norms for implementing the provisions of the section 10(1)(b), section 16(1)(b)and section 20(1)(b) in regard to the appointment of members respectively of the District fora, State Commissions and the National Commission;
(iii) The Union Govt shall while framing the model rules have due regard to the formulation of objective norms for the assessment of the ability, knowledge and experience required to be possessed by the members of the respective fora in the domain areas referred to in the statutory provisions. The rules shall provide for the payment of salary, allowances and for the conditions of service of the members of the consumer fora commensurate with the adjudicatory duties and the need to attract suitable talent to these adjudicating bodies. These rules shall be finalised upon after due consultation with the President of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission within the stipulated period;
(iv) upon the approval of the model rules by the Apex-Court, the State Governments shall proceed to adopt the model rules by framing appropriate rules in the exercise of the rule making powers under section 30 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986;
(v) The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission is requested to formulate Regulations Under section 30A with the previous approval of the Central Govt within three months in order to effectuate the power of administrative control vested in the National Commission over the State Commissions under section 24(B)(1)(iii) and in respect of the administrative control of the State Commissions over the District fora in terms of section 24(B) (2)as explained in this judgement to effectively implement the objects and purposes of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
On March 7, 2017, the Supreme Court issued directions that during the course of hearing, the proposed rules and regulations were brought to the notice of the Court. It also emerged that there is a need for certain modifications in the Rules and Regulations.
Lawyers for the rival parties accordingly sought a short adjournment, so as to enable them to iron out the issues, which require further debate and deliberation. One of the pressing issues, which needs to be dealt with forthwith, is the vacancy of the post of Registrar of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. It seems, that there is an agreement on this issue inasmuch as, the Additional Solicitor General left the issue of recommendation to the Chairman of the National Commission, who will be at liberty to suggest the name of an appropriate individual, for the post of Registrar of the National Commission. As and when such a recommendation is made, the selected individual will be appointed as Registrar, without delay, by way of deputation, till such time a regular incumbent is selected and appointed.
In pursuance of the previous orders, the ASG Maninder Singh has filed a status report. The Court considered it appropriate to direct that a comprehensive status report indicating compliance with the directions issued on November 21, 2016 by the Supreme Court shall be filed on affidavit within six weeks by the Union Government.
The Committee appointed by the Apex-Court has filed its report on March 4. The task entrusted to the Committee by the Court stands concluded with submission of its report by the Committee on March 4, 2017, a copy of which has been placed on record. The Committee stands closed.