The Delhi High Court was informed on Friday that out of 30 sanctioned posts for various members across the district consumer forums in the national capital, 26 have been filled and for the remaining vacancies, process is underway.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was dealing with a plea filed by a practising lawyer highlighting the unfortunate state of Consumer Courts established under the Consumer Protection Act in the national capital. During the course of hearing, the Delhi Government further informed the court that out of 111 sanctioned posts for the support staff across the district forums, 106 have already been filled and the process for filling up remaining vacancies is already going on.
In this regard, the government sought four months’ time to fill up all the vacancies and to make arrangements for providing adequate facilities to the officers, litigants and lawyers in consumer courts. The Bench directed the government to file a fresh status report pointing out the developments and slated the matter for further hearing on January 27, 2023.Filed by Advocate Sangam Singh Kochar, the plea pointed concerned the issues relating to backlog of vacancies in the Consumer Forums; inadequacy of staff; lack of infrastructure including supply of drinking water and toilet facilities. It thus, 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.”On the last date of hearing, the Bench directed the Delhi Government to file a Status Report giving particulars with regard to each District Consumer Forum in the city and made it clear 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.