KEY MEASURES TO HELP CONSUMER COMMISSIONS
The Consumer Protection Act was passed to ensure quick and cheap grievance redressal system for consumers. However, over the years, consumers are losing their faith on the grievance redressal system, as judgments are not delivered on time. The following measures are required to resolve the huge backlog and ensure faster disposal of the cases:
No adjournments during final hearing:
The foremost important corrective measure required is to ensure that the cases, which come for adjudication, are cleared within a stipulated time. Commissions and forums can adopt a fixed board in which the cases listed for final hearing will not be adjourned at any cost.
Fixed time limit for arguments:
The commissions and forums should adopt a system of the fixed time limit for entertaining arguments of parties in petty cases. Also, the court should adopt a practice of accepting written submissions of arguments, which would greatly help in faster disposal of cases.
Promoting disposal through mediation:
Several cases that
have saddled the commissions and forums can be easily resolved by adopting mediation, which is unavailable in the majority of the states. Experts claimed that medication can bring down the cases filed before the forums and commissions by at least 30 per cent and the first priority should be to try to get the dispute settled through mediation.
While the cumulative pendency of cases across the country is growing every year, it is high time for the state governments, as well as the Centre, to consider improving the infrastructure and manpower required for dealing with such a huge backlog of cases. Also, the judicial and non-judicial members should receive regular training on how to deal with consumer cases, especially in the ever-changing business environment.
The district forums, as well as the state commissions, should be regularly monitored to keep a check on the accountability of judges as well members. Proper monitoring will ensure that the benches function properly.