The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the stand of the Delhi Government, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, upon a plea highlighting the unfortunate state of Consumer Courts established under the Consumer Protection Act in the national capital.
The Division Bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla was dealing with a plea filed by a practising lawyer pointing out backlog of vacancies in the Consumer Forums; inadequacy of staff; lack of infrastructure including supply of drinking water and toilet facilities.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the Status Report filed by the Delhi Government in the matter, the Bench directed the respondents to file a fresh Status Report giving particulars with regard to each District Consumer Forum in the city.
It added that the particulars should include the number of sanctioned posts for the Consumer Forums and the number of actual incumbents as on date; the sanctioned strength of support staff of each of the Consumer Forums and the actual strength thereof; the drinking water and toilet facilities as provided for both men and women at such forums; the telephone connections, if any, provided for access by the public and whether the said connections are active in working or not; as also whether there are any facilities provided for holding virtual hearings.
The matter will be heard next on September 2, 2022.
Filed by Advocate Sangam Singh Kochar, the plea sought directions for immediate filling up of vacancies in District Consumer Forums in Delhi. It further sought directions to provide adequate infrastructure and supply of manpower for effective functioning of such forums.
The petitioner claimed that the Delhi Government failed to draft Model Rules as directed by the Apex Court in the case of “State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. vs. All U.P. Consumer Protection Bar Association”, to enhance the efficiency in the working of the consumer forums.
The plea stated thus: “The consumer forums were created to offer access to speedy justice to consumers; however due to the lack complete quorum, lack of infrastructure facilities and understaffing, the legislation has lost its objective to impart speedy justice and the matters keep on lingering in the consumer forums for years altogether.”