Your Com­plaint

Can the con­sumer fo­rum refuse to ac­cept it?

Consumer Voice - - Contents - Dr Prem Lata, Con­sumer Awak­en­ing For­mer Mem­ber, CDRF-Delhi

There are cer­tain fun­da­men­tal pa­ram­e­ters, or ‘main­tain­abil­ity cri­te­ria’, for any com­plaint to be ac­cepted for hear­ing at a con­sumer fo­rum. In or­der to en­sure that your com­plaint is not re­jected at the fo­rum, you need to pre­pare it well. You need to first do your home­work to un­der­stand if the com­plaint is ‘jus­ti­fi­able’ to be filed at the fo­rum.

Un­til 2002, con­sumer fo­rums’ es­sen­tial work hours were be­ing lost amid the ba­sics of es­tab­lish­ing if a par­tic­u­lar case could be heard and dealt with in the fo­rum. In a few cases, in the mid­dle of the hear­ings it was found that ei­ther the com­plainant was not the con­sumer as per the def­i­ni­tion of ‘con­sumer’ in the law or the sub­ject per say did not fall within the ju­ris­dic­tion of the fo­rum.

Amend­ment 2002

In or­der to ad­dress such sit­u­a­tions, an amend­ment was made in Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act, 1986. Done in 2002, the amend­ment made it manda­tory for the fo­rum to be­gin in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the case only af­ter en­sur­ing the fol­low­ing in the pre­lim­i­nary hear­ings:

1. The com­plainant is a con­sumer (see box to know def­i­ni­tion of con­sumer)

2. The com­plaint has been filed within lim­i­ta­tion of two years

3. The fo­rum/com­mis­sion has the ju­ris­dic­tion to hear the case

It is to be noted here that all the above three points have to be es­tab­lished by the fo­rum dur­ing the hear­ing of the case. The au­thor­ity to es­tab­lish facts lies with the re­spec­tive jury of each fo­rum. Also, in case of rejection, the con­sumer’s right to move and ap­peal to the higher com­mis­sion is never com­pro­mised.

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