SC gives time to fill vacancies in Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions

Supreme Court of India directed Union and State governments to fill vacancies in the consumer disputes redressal commission within eight weeks.

Key Points

  • There are around 800 vacancies in consumer courts across the country.
  • Bench has ordered to fill all the vacancies in consumer courts at national, state and district levels and has also notified rules to appoint, advertise posts and set up selection committees.

Background

In a written reply to Rajya Sabha, Union minister of state for consumer affairs, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, noted that, there were 638 district fora functional in 28 states and 8 Union territories. He also informed that, all 36 state consumer commissions were operational. According to him, 25 presidents and 68 members were appointed in state commissions while 367 presidents and 695 members were working in district fora, as of June 2021. He did not cite any vacancies in the commission.

Suo Motu case

Senior counsel Gopal Sankaranarayanan and advocate Aditya Narain, registered the case suo motu and produced a tabular chart stating that, district consumer fora have 721 vacancies including 188 for presidents. 72 posts were vacant across state commissions while national consumer commission has 3 vacancies.

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)

NCDRC is a quasi-judicial commission of India. It was set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It is headquartered in New Delhi. NCDRC is headed by sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. Justice R K Agrawal, former judge of the Supreme Court, is the present head of the commission.

Section 21 of Consumer Protection Act, 1986

Section 21 of the act provides for jurisdiction of NCDRC to entertain any complaint with value of more than one crore. It also provides for Appellate and Revisional jurisdiction from orders of State Commissions or District fora.

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