Simplification of the Procedure

I have always advocated that the Consumer Protection Act is the best option in appropriate cases.

It is faster than other remedies like civil courts.
The fees are nominal.
The consumer himself can file and argue his case.

I attended a talk by Ms. Rajyalakshmi Rao, ex member of the National Consumer Commission on the 28 March 2015.
There are problems which should be sorted out.

Matters can and should be simplified. I am giving a few simple suggestions.

1  The format of the Complaint varies from State to State and Forum to Forum in the same State. This practically forces a complainant to engage a lawyer.

The National Commission can formulate rules specifying the basic format of all the required documents.
So long as these are complied with, the individual Forums and Commissions need not be hyper technical.

2 Far too many adjournments are given.

I do realize that adjournments do have to be given in genuine cases, like the parties’ or advocate’s illnes,  but too many adjournments are given, even when there are no grounds indicated or mentioned. There is a lot of waste of time of all concerned, which could be minimized.

3. There are far  too many similar cases …for instance cases against builders, insurance companies. There are any number of decisions on these issues.

Much of these litigation can be curtailed by imposing heavy costs or damages, where rulings on similar issues are not followed.
For example, builders seem to ignore the law with impunity.. And by the time the issue, say of car parking, forming of housing society, conveyance, handing over of common areas, is decided against  them, they would have enjoyed the benefit for years and decades. Heavy damages should be imposed so that such practice is curtailed. The damages may be given to the Consumer Protection Fund.

4. There are some Forums which have a huge pendency …may be because of vacancies, or because the particular jurisdiction has more litigants.

In such cases, the State Commission can easily transfer some of the pending cases to other Forums or change the territorial jurisdiction so that the workload is better and more evenly  distributed.

Condonation of Delay – Consumer Protection Act

The Consumer Protection Act stipulates a period of one month for filing appeals and revisions.
There are several cases, where the State Consumer Commissions and the National Consumer Commission have condoned long delays.

In one of the latest cases, the National Consumer Commission has refused to condone long delays in a bunch of cases.
It has referred to the Supreme Court decision in  “Sanjay Sidgonda Patl Vs. National Insurance Co. Ltd. & Ors.”, Special Leave to Appeal (Civil) No. 37183 of 2013, decided on 17.12.2013,  in which the Supreme Court has held that even the 13 days’ unexplained delay is not to be condoned  and dismissed the Appeal.

I am giving details of the National Consumer Commission’s decision.

The State Commission condoned a delay of 43 days in one of my appeals, and that too without imposing any costs, but this can only be treated as an exception.

I would like to stress that Appeals and Revisions have to be filed in time to avoid unnecessary complications.

(Against the Order dated 06/09/2013 in Appeal No. 2248/2012 of the State Commission Karnataka)