A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions for the appointment of the President, members, and staff at the District and State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions across India.
The plea by Saloni Gautam filed through advocates Om Prakash Parihar and Dushyant Tiwari avers that on July 20, 2020, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force, bringing in changes to the pecuniary jurisdictions of the District, State and National Commissions.
The pecuniary limit for the District Commissions has been increased to Rs.1 crore from up to Rs. 20 lakhs; for the State Commissions, it has been increased to Rs. 10 crores from Rs.1 crore; and for the National Commission, the pecuniary jurisdiction has been increased to over and above Rs.10 crore as against Rs.1 crore as per the 1986 Act.
The plea states that the governments of various states have not made any arrangement to fill the posts of Presidents and members of Consumer Commissions. This would lead to delay in passing final order/judgment by these Commissions, it has been claimed.
In August this year, the petitioner had filed Right to Information (RTI) applications seeking information from the Central government and the States of Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and the Union Territory of Chandigarh regarding the vacancies at consumer redressal commissions.
By September, she was informed by the Delhi government that only one post was vacant. However, in November, the status of the Delhi State Disputes Redressal Commission showed that there were two vacancies.
The petitioner has further stated that more than “16 posts of President and 25 of members are lying vacant in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums across Punjab and some of the posts are believed to have been lying vacant for past two years”.
The plea goes on to state,
“Various Consumer Commissions do not even have proper infrastructure to run Consumer Commission in a smooth manner which at the end leads to cause delay in delivering justice to the consumers.”
In this light, the plea also prays for a direction to provide proper infrastructure to consumer commissions.