The Supreme Court will hear a PIL seeking directions to the Centre and the state of Haryana to fill up vacant post of presidents and members in District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions in Haryana.
The petitioner has also sought directions to extend the terms of some District Presidents of the consumer forum who are scheduled to retire in the second week of April 2021, till new appointments are made.
The petition has been filed by Surender Deswal seeking directions to the Central government, state of Haryana and the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. The petitioner has submitted that the Rule 6 of the Consumer Protection Rules, 2020 make it abundantly clear that the process of appointment of members should be initiated at least six months before the vacancies arise.
The plea avers that even after the vacancy arises there were no steps taken to make the appointments. “The action of the Respondents is totally unjust and contrary to the provisions of Consumer Protection Act and the very object of the Act,” averred the Plea.
The State of Haryana has its State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at Panchkula with 22 District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in Ambala, Bhiwani, Faridabad, Fatehabad, Gurgaon, Hisar, Jind, Jhajjar, Kaithal, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Narnaul, Panipat, Panchkula, Rewari, Rohtak, Sonepat, Sirsa, Yamuna Nagar, Palwal, Mewat at Nuh & in Charkhi Dadri which is a newly made District Consumer Forum. These commissions have been set up under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 amended from time to time for better protection and interest of the Consumers. It is a quasi-judicial body consisting of one President and four members at the State Commission’s level and one President and 2 members at the District level.
The petitioners have submitted that as of 21.02.2019, four (4) posts of Presidents in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in the State of Haryana were lying vacant. For these posts the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Haryana had made an advertisement on 21.02.2019, inviting applications. Thereafter, one more post became vacant due to the creation of a new District forum at Charkhi Dadri by the state government and a corrigendum was issued on 07.03.2019 for filling up 5 posts instead of the earlier 4 posts of President of District Commission.
As per the information of the petitioner interview of these posts have been conducted, but no appointment has been made till date. Furthermore, eighteen (18) posts of Members of the said District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission are also vacant.
The petitioner has alleged that the injury caused to the public is that due to vacant posts of Presidents and Members in the District Commission in the State of Haryana, it is quite difficult for the consumers to raise their grievances and get relief against the service providers thereby causing great hardships to the public at large.
The petitioner has further submitted that he seeks to espouse the cause of safeguarding public funds which are being misused by public servants in a political campaign.