• Lex Specialis

Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986

Rabi Anandh


INTRODUCTION


The Consumer Protection Act, 2000 is an Act of the Parliament of India endorsed in 1986 to ensure the interests of buyers in India. Under this act, consumer disputes redressal agencies have been established. The three-tier dispute redressal agencies are formed to provide speedy, less expensive, and simple (hassle-free) dispute redressal to the consumers.


THREE DIFFERENT LEVELS


Section 9 of the Consumer Protection Act states the Establishment of Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies.

“District Forum” established by State Government. At least one in each district

“State Commission” by State Government.

“National Commission” (National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) established by the central government.


All these agencies are quasi-judicial in terms of nature and power


How do redressal agencies work?


A complaint about any goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or any service provided or agreed to be provided may be filed with a District Forum by:


a) The consumer to whom such goods are sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or such service provided or agreed to be provided.


b) Any recognised consumer association whether the consumer to whom the goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or service provided or agreed to be provided is a member of such association or not.


c) One or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest, with the permission of the District Forum, on behalf of, or for the benefit of, all consumers so interested.


d) The Central or the State Government, as the case may be, either in its individual capacity or as a representative of interests of the consumers in general.


DISTRICT FORUM

District forum is the primary phase of courts at the base of the chain of the customer redressal courts. These Court capacities like a Civil Court in a district.


Composition:

A. A person who is, or has been, or is qualified to be a District Judge, who shall be its President.


B. two other members, one of whom shall be a woman who shall be:

a) be not less than thirty-five years of age

b) possess a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university

c) be persons of ability, integrity, and standing, and have adequate knowledge and experience of at least ten years in dealing with problems relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration.


  • At least two members of the Forum must be there, one of whom should be the president for conducting any proceedings to resolve a consumer dispute.

  • Every member of the District Forum shall hold office for a term of five years or up to the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier


Jurisdiction (as per section 11 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986)


To entertain a complaint valued up to Rs. 20 lakhs. Being the lowest agency in the ladder of Consumer Court, CPA does not give any power to the District Forums to hear the appeals.

Appeals against orders:


Any party who is not happy with the judgment can take their case to the higher court this is called an appeal.

Any person aggrieved by an order made by the District Forum may prefer an appeal against such order to the State Commission within a period of thirty days from the date of the order, in such form and manner as may be prescribed.

Provided that the State Commission may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period.


STATE COMMISSION


State Commission is the second phase of courts of the chain of the customer redressal courts. It is a higher Consumer Court set up over District Forums in India under Consumer Protection Act-1986 and these Court capacities like high Court in a State.


Composition:

  • A person who is or has been a Judge of a High Court, appointed by the State Government, who shall be its President.

  • Not less than two members (as prescribed for district forum)

  • The president of the State Commission and at least one member is required to conduct every proceeding.

  • Every member of the State Commission shall hold office for a term of five years or up to the age of sixty-seven years, whichever is earlier.


Jurisdiction (as per section 17 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986)


To entertain a complaint valued more than Rs. 20 lakhs, but does not go beyond Rupees one crore also have Appellate and Revisional jurisdiction from the orders of the District fora


Appeals against orders:


If not happy with a judgment given by the State Commission, can appeal with the National Commission. They may prefer an appeal against such order to the National Commission within a period of thirty days from the date of the order in such form and manner as may be prescribed.


Provided that the National Commission may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period.


NATIONAL COMMISSION


National Commission is the highest second phase of courts of the chain of the customer redressal courts, subordinate to the Supreme Court. This Commission was set up in Indian over State Commissions and District Forums under the Act-1986.

Since 1987, this Forum has been working, yet whether this Forum has been achieving its activity or not has been examined.


Composition:

  • A person who is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court, to be appointed by the Central Government, who shall be its President.

  • Not less than four members (as prescribed for district forum and state commission).

  • At least three members of the National Commission, one of whom must be the president should dispose of the disputes.

  • Every member of the National Commission shall hold office for a term of five years or up to the age of seventy years, whichever is earlier.

Jurisdiction (as per section 21 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986)


To entertain a complaint valued more than one crore and also have Appellate and Revisional jurisdiction from the orders of State Commissions or the District fora as the case may be.


Appeals against orders

Any person, aggrieved by an order made by the National Commission may prefer an appeal to the Supreme Court. They may prefer an appeal against such order to the Supreme Court within a period of thirty days from the date of the order in such form and manner as may be prescribed.


Provided that the Supreme Court may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period.


CONCLUSION


These are the three consumer redressal offices where all the complaints of the shoppers are being handled, maintaining purchaser intrigue. To shield the purchasers from abuse and to spare them from contaminated and unacceptable merchandise and to achieve the objective of the Consumer Protection Act the orders are passed but those orders of Consumer Courts are not actualized on time since Consumer Courts need executing power.


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