Delhi government to make efforts to reduce pendency of cases in consumer forums
Consumer Affairs Minister, Shri Imran Hussain on Tuesday reviewed the functioning of Consumer Affairs Department, Delhi State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, Delhi and various District Consumer Forums.
The meeting was attended by Commissioner, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (CFS) and several senior officers of the Department.
During the meeting, the officers informed that the Department is vigorously pursuing identification of adequate space for the functioning of four Benches of the Commission. Consumer Affairs Department is actively pursuing finalization of space with various land owning agencies viz. PWD, DUSIB, DSIIDC etc. A high level meeting was also convened by the Minister in this regard recently wherein Principal Secretary (PWD) assured necessary cooperation in this regard.
Commissioner Food Safety informed that the new site will be finalised in consultation with Hon’ble Justice, Veena Birbal, President, Delhi State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission and State Government at the earliest.
The new site will be not only convenient to the Presiding Officers of the Benches but also to the public.
For the convenience of Consumers and general public, Delhi Goverment has set-up Consumer Courts in every District. Presently, there are 10 District Consumer Forumsfunctioning in various parts of Delhi.
These District Forums are located at Tis Hazari Court for North District; UdyogSadan, Qutub Institutional Area for South -I and South II Districts; Convenient Shopping Centre, Shalimar Bag for North-West District; C Block Community Centre, Janakpuri for West District; Weavers Complex, NandNagari for North-East District; VikasBhawan, I.P. Estate for New Delhi District; Local Shopping Centre, Sheikh Sarai –II for South West District; ISBT Building, Kashmere Gate for Central District and Convenient Shopping Centre, Saini Enclave for East District.
The Minister enquired about out the status of functioning of South-West District Forum. Presently it is functioning from South District. Department informed that with the assistance of PWD, Department is in the process of finalizing a location in Dwarka at the earliest. Mr Hussain reiterated his earlier directionsto the Department to expedite the efforts for shifting this District Consumer Forum to a site located in the South-West District itself.
Shri Hussain also enquired about the status of operationalization of new District Consumer Forum approved by Cabinet for Shahdara District.CFS informed that the Consumer Affairs Department is vigorously pursuing the matter with Hon’ble High Court of Delhi and District Judge Karkardooma Courts for starting the functioning of Consumer Forum Shahdara from the Court Complex so that the peoplecould avail consumer redressal mechanism in their neighbourhood only.
The minister also expressed his concern about pendency and disposal of cases with Commission and District Consumer Forums. Around 6,000 cases are registered per year in the Commission and various District Consumer Forums and around 7,000 cases are disposed by them. Overall, there is pendency of about 18,000 cases.
The Consumer Affairs Department is in the process of devising a strategy for disposal of pending cases. It was informed that early disposal would require additional commitment of manpower, space, financial resources etc. and that a proposal in this regard is being examined by Law Department. Hon’ble Minister directed for expeditious working out of a proposal in this regard.
Shri Hussain also directed provision of sufficient staff for smooth functioning of the Commission and District Consumer Forums. The Minister also directed for creating separate cadre of staff for the State Commission and District Consumer Forums. The Department assured that the needful will be done expeditiously.
The Consumer Affairs Department of Government of NCT of Delhi is the nodal Department for consumer awareness, protection and welfare. Protection of consumer rights and redressal of grievances stands at the top of the governance agenda of Government of NCT of Delhi.
The Minister reiterated the commitment of Delhi Government for protection of consumer rights. Consumer Protection Act seeks to promote and protect the rights of consumers such as protection against marketing of goods which are hazardous to life and property; the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods, as the case may be, so as to protect the consumers against unfair trade practices; the right to be assured, wherever possible, of access to variety of goods at competitive prices; the right to be heard and to be assured that the interest of consumers will receive due consideration at appropriate forums and the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers and right to consumer education.
The object of the Act is also to provide speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes through machinery set up at District, State and Central Levels. These quasi-judicial bodies observe principles of natural justice and have been empowered to give relief of specific nature and to award, wherever appropriate, compensation to consumers.
The Minister appealed to Presidents and Members of State Commission and District Consumer Forums to redress the grievances of consumers under Consumer Protection Act in order to fulfil the aim and object of Consumer Protection Act for providing speedy and expeditious consumer redressal mechanism.