Rea­sons for the grow­ing pen­dency of com­plaints

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - THE STORY -

More com­plaints filed:

With greater aware­ness on con­sumer rights, there is a grad­ual rise in the num­ber of com­plaints filed. How­ever, the in­fra­struc­ture and ca­pac­ity of the quasi-ju­di­cial bod­ies have not in­creased over time, as a re­sult of which they are sad­dled with a huge back­log of cases.

Re­tired ju­di­cial of­fi­cers for ad­ju­di­cat­ing com­plaints:

An­other rea­son that af­fects the dis­pen­sa­tion is the hir­ing of re­tired ju­di­cial of­fi­cers, who are not given any train­ing for deal­ing with such cases. Some also say that since th­ese judges are above 62 years of age, many of them have ef­fi­ciency is­sues due to old age.

Mem­bers are poorly paid:

Mem­bers who are part of the benches in com­mis­sions and fo­rums are poorly paid as com­pared to ju­di­cial mem­bers. Also, they are re­tired lower-rung gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who have the least in­ter­est and cal­iber in the dis­pen­sa­tion of jus­tice.

No me­di­a­tion fa­cil­ity:

Many of the petty com­plaints do not re­quire any ad­ju­di­ca­tion, but could be re­solved through proper me­di­a­tion. How­ever, the same is un­avail­able at most of the district and state com­mis­sions. Ex­perts sug­gest that me­di­a­tion can check the num­ber of con­sumer com­plaints by at least 30%.

Lawyers seek­ing ad­journ­ments:

One of the ma­jor fac­tors for the grow­ing pen­dency is the de­lay caused by lawyers by un­nec­es­sar­ily seek­ing ad­journ­ments. There are sev­eral oc­ca­sions when the benches are in a mood to hear the ar­gu­ments and de­cide a case, but lawyers keep on seek­ing dates, of­ten to gain mon­e­tar­ily from the client.

Va­can­cies in fo­rums and com­mis­sions:

There are a num­ber of va­can­cies, both ju­di­cial and non-ju­di­cial, in district fo­rums, state com­mis­sions, as well as NCDRC. The state govern­ments still con­sider the com­mis­sions and fo­rums a bur­den on them and are re­luc­tant to spend on fill­ing up the va­can­cies.

No puni­tive dam­ages im­posed:

Ac­cord­ing to or­gan­i­sa­tions deal­ing with con­sumer rights, the state com­mis­sions and district fo­rums sel­dom come out with a judg­ment im­pos­ing a con­sid­er­able fine on those found guilty, which could set a prece­dent.

Lack of ac­count­abil­ity and mon­i­tor­ing:

An­other ma­jor fac­tor is the lack of ac­count­abil­ity of the ju­di­cial and non­ju­di­cial mem­bers and poor mon­i­tor­ing of their func­tion­ing. Or­gan­i­sa­tions work­ing in this do­main claim that many benches do not func­tion prop­erly and op­er­ate only for 3-4 hours a day.

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