New Delhi: A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre, states and Union Territories to fill up vacant posts of presidents and members of consumer commissions, saying "inaction" in making appointments was causing pendency of cases. The petition, which has alleged that directions passed by various high courts regarding filling up of vacancies in district and state consumer commissions have been "ignored" by the authorities concerned, said there is a lack of proper infrastructure to run these panels smoothly.
It has also sought a direction to the authorities to provide proper infrastructure and staff to the consumer commissions as soon as possible and file a detailed report regarding this before the apex court. The plea, filed by law student Saloni Gautam, claimed that inaction of the authorities in filling up the vacant posts has led to the "violation of the right to speedy disposal of cases".
"Petitioner is filing this PIL….challenging inaction of governments in appointing president, members and staff before district consumer dispute redressal commissions and state consumer disputes redressal commissions across India, which is causing pendency of consumer cases all over India and justice is getting delayed due to non-action of the governments across India and is antithesis to the Article 21 of the Constitution of India," said the plea, filed through advocate Om Prakash Parihar. It said that in July, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force, and it changed the pecuniary jurisdiction for the district, state and national commissions respectively.
The plea said that pecuniary limit for district commission has been increased to up to Rs one crore, for state commission, it has been increased to up to Rs 10 crores and for national commission, it is now over and above Rs 10 crores. It said the petitioner has also got RTI replies about vacancies in consumer commissions in several states across the country.
"It is most respectfully submitted that all this clearly shows that the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into a force and the pecuniary jurisdictions of the consumer commissions has changed/increased, but the governments have not made any arrangement in filing the post of president and members in these commissions," the plea claimed. It said various high courts across the country have ordered the state governments to appoint president and members in district and state commission, but no action has been taken.
"It is also pertinent to note that various consumer commissions do not even have proper infrastructure to run consumer commission in a smooth manner which at the end leads to cause delay in delivering justice to the consumers," it added.