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Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution
26-November-2010 15:20 IST
Government Proposes to Set up Consumer Protection Authority
Steps Being taken for Speedy Disposal of Consumer Court Cases
ORIGINAL IN HINDI

 

A proposal to set up a National Consumer Protection Regulatory Authority is under consideration in consultation with all the stake holders. The same has so far not been finalized.

 

          The important steps being taken by the Central Government for speedy justice are as under:     

 

(i)         Financial assistance is being provided to the States/UTs for strengthening their infrastructure. ‘CONFONET’ scheme for computerization and networking of Consumer Fora across the country is also being implemented which is expected to bring about systematization of Consumer Fora and improve their efficiency.

 

(ii)        With an objective to facilitate the Fora in quicker disposal of cases, several provisions were made through Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act, 2002 which included enabling the Senior Most Member to preside over the Consumer Fora if the President is absent for any reasons, establishment of Circuit Benches of National Commission/State Commissions and providing for reappointment of President/Members of Consumer Fora.

 

(iii)       The Central Government has been requesting State Governments to take advance action for filling up expected vacancies of President and Members. They have also been advised that wherever required, adjacent Fora can be clubbed together. Benches can also be established in Consumer Fora, as required.

 

(iv)       The State Govts have been advised that the Consumer Fora should also resort to Lok Adalat method for disposing off long pending complaints.

 

            In addition the National Commission also takes the following steps for speedy disposal of cases in the Consumer Forum.

 

(a)        The National Commission holds annual conferences of the Presidents of the State Commissions and Secretaries In-charge, Consumer Affairs of the State Governments/UTs to evaluate the functioning of the Consumer Forums in the country and effective implementation of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986;

 

(b)        The Hon’ble President of the National Commission regularly writes letters to the Hon’ble Chief Minister of States to meet the short-comings in the Consumer Fora, particularly with regard to appointment of President / Members in the State Commissions, providing sufficient staff and infrastructure etc. as well as interacts with the Presidents of the State Commissions to get the first hand information regarding functioning of the State Commissions & District Forums, pendency of the cases and the difficulties faced by them.

 

(c)        The National Commission also advises the State Commissions and District Forums to adopt the process of holding Lok Adalats for speedy disposal of the cases. The National Commission also holds Circuit Bench sittings as per the provisions of Section 22 C of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, for rendering speedy justice at the doorsteps of the consumers of that particular State. So far, the National Commission has held Circuit Bench sittings at Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, and Kolkata.

 

            In the following States Circuit Benches / Additional Benches are functioning

 

(a)        Gujarat                        03 Additional Benches

(b)        Maharashtra                 Circuit Bench at Nagpur & Aurangabad

(c)        Uttar Pradesh              01 Additional Bench

(d)        West Bengal                 01 Additional Bench

(e)        Madhya Pradesh          01 Additional Bench

(f)         Punjab                         01 Additional Bench

 

(d)        In addition to the existing five Benches of the National Commission, the Central Government has recently sanctioned one additional bench for the National Commission for a period of five years for disposing off backlog of pending cases.

 

This information was given by Prof. K.V. Thomas, Minister of State for Agriculture, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

 

 

MP:CP: consumer (2611.2010)