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Supreme Court takes suo motu action for Non-Appointment of Members at District Consumer Forums

April 21, 2022

By Nihit Nagpal and Anuj Jhawar

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) No. 2 of 2021 dated October 21, 2021 under the Article 32 of the Constitution of India[1] held that there was in action of the Government of India in appointing the President and Members or Staff of the Districts and State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and also inadequate infrastructure across India.

The bench comprised of the Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and the Hon’ble Justice M.M. Sundresh which held that if the Government feels it doesn’t want the Consumer Tribunals then it should abolish the Consumer Protection Act itself, but if the Government puts the Act in place, the Tribunals must be manned.

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted to protect the interests of the Consumer which is now replaced by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

In this instant Writ Petition, the Supreme Court was perturbed by the imminent vacancies in the Consumer Forums across the country, and in that connection expressed its anguish and disapproval wherein the Apex Court expressed displeasure over the delay in appointments in the Districts and State Consumer Forums.

“If the Government does not want the Tribunals or Forums then the Consumer Protection Act shall be abolished”

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India held as under:

”If the Government does not want the Tribunals or Forums then the Consumer Protection Act shall be abolished. We are stretching our jurisdiction to see the vacancies are filled in the Tribunals. Courts should not spend time on this and the posts should be filled by the Government. Unfortunately, the Judiciary is called upon to see that these posts are manned which in fact is the duty of the Government.”

The Hon’ble Supreme Court further held that the citizens of the country are suffering and the Consumer Forums are the places for remedy where small issues that people deal with are not high stake matters, thus the purpose of setting up the tribunals to provide speedy consumer remedy is being defeated.

Conclusion:

The Consumer rights are important rights and non-manning of the posts and inadequate infrastructure in the District and State Consumer Forums across the country would deprive the citizens of redressal of their grievances. Thus, the time has come that our country is equipped with a permanent structure of the Consumer Forums like the permanent Courts and have permanent Judges as being selected for the District and the Higher Judiciary.

[1] Article 32 deals with the ‘Right to Constitutional Remedies’ or affirms the right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred in Part III of the Constitution of India, 1950.

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