A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Centre, states, and Union Territories for the speedy appointments of the Presidents and members in state and district consumer dispute redressal commissions. The petitioner has alleged that such inaction is leading to the pendency of cases.
In the petition, it is mentioned that despite directions from various High Courts to fill up the vacancies, the directions were ignored. The petitioner has also raised the issue of insufficient infrastructure. It has sought direction to the authorities to provide proper infrastructure as well as staff for the proper functioning of consumer redressal commissions and file a detailed status report before the Supreme Court.
The plea has been moved by a law student, Saloni Gautam who claimed that inaction on the part of authorities not to fill up the posts which are vacant from over a year has led to 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 petition filed through Om Prakash Parihar and Dushyant Tiwari.
The petition also mentioned that the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force on July 20, 2020 which has brought changes in pecuniary jurisdictions of the District, State, and National Commissions.
As per the changes, pecuniary limit for the District Commissions has been raised to Rs 1 crore from Rs 20 lakh, the limit for State Commissions has been raised to Rs 10 crore from Rs 1 crore, and for National Commission, the pecuniary limit has been raised to over and above Rs 10 crore which was earlier Rs 1 crore.
“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,” said the plea.
The petitioner had also filed Right to Information applications seeking information about filling up of vacancies from Centre and states of Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and the Union Territory of Chandigarh in August 2020.