advocatemmmohan

My photo

ADVOCATEMMMOHAN -  Practicing both IN CIVIL, CRIMINAL AND FAMILY LAWS,Etc.,

WELCOME TO LEGAL WORLD

WELCOME TO MY LEGAL WORLD - FOR KNOWLEDGE IN LAW & FOR LEGAL OPINIONS - SHARE THIS

Thursday, November 24, 2016

STATE OF U P AND ORS .....APPELLANTS VERSUS ALL U P CONSUMER PROTECTION BAR ASSOCIATION

                                                                  REPORTABLE


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                        CIVIL APPEAL No. 2740 OF 2007



STATE OF U P AND ORS                            .....APPELLANTS



                                   VERSUS



ALL U P CONSUMER PROTECTION
BAR ASSOCIATION
  .....RESPONDENT


                                    With

                      WRIT PETITION (C) No. 164 OF 2002



                               J U D G M E N T



Dr D Y CHANDRACHUD, J

1     The deficiency of infrastructure in the adjudicatory fora constituted
under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has led to several directions of
this Court in the course of the proceedings in this case.  On 14 January
2016, this Court constituted a Committee presided over by Mr Justice Arijit
Pasayat, a former judge of this Court, to examine :
the infrastructural requirements of the State Commissions,  deficiencies  in
infrastructure and remedial measures;

the position of vacancies of members at the  national,  state  and  district
level;

the need for additional Benches at the national, state and district level;

conditions of eligibility for appointment of non-judicial members;

administrative powers  which  have  been  or  should  be  conferred  on  the
presiding officers of the state and district fora;

service conditions including pay scales  governing  the  presiding  officers
and members;

requirements of staff;

creation of a separate cadre of staff at the national,  state  and  district
level; and

other relevant issues.



The Committee was requested, while examining these  issues,  to  submit  its
recommendations.  The Committee has since the commencement of  its  work  in
February 2016 inquired extensively into the matters referred to it  and  has
made an assessment of the prevailing conditions in  the  States  of  Orissa,
Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jammu and  Kashmir,
Tamil Nadu, Bihar  and  Jharkhand.  The  Committee  has  also  analysed  the
prevailing position at the National Consumer Disputes Redressal  Commission,
as well as the State Commission in New Delhi.

2     The facts which have emerged from the interim report submitted by  the
Committee on 17 October 2016 constitute a sobering  reflection  of  how  far
removed reality lies from the goals and objectives which Parliament  had  in
view while enacting the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.   The  Committee  has
observed that the fora constituted under the enactment do  not  function  as
effectively as expected  due  to  a  poor  organizational  set  up,  grossly
inadequate infrastructure, absence of  adequate  and  trained  manpower  and
lack of qualified members in the adjudicating bodies.  Benches of the  state
and district fora sit, in many cases for barely two  or  three  hours  every
day and remain non-functional for months due to a  lack  of  coram.   Orders
are not enforced like other orders passed by the civil  courts.   The  state
governments have failed to respond to the suggestions of the  Committee  for
streamlining the state of affairs.

3     The pathetic state of infrastructure is made evident in the  following
findings in the report of the Committee :

“The Committee, during its visits to states, has found  that  there  are  no
proper court-rooms with lights and fans, chairs and  tables.  The  condition
of Chambers of the Presiding Members is pathetic. They do not have  adequate
or trained staff. They do not have stenographers for taking  dictations.  At
some Consumer Fora, there are no  peons  to  retrieve  the  files  from  the
Record Room. The Record-Rooms are,  also,  either  too  small  and  have  no
almirah, shelves or compactors to keep the files.  The  files  are  kept  in
open and  get  misplaced  or  eaten  by  termites.  The  Central  Government
provides  funds  for  construction  of  the  new  buildings,  carrying   out
additions/alterations/renovations  of  existing  buildings  and  grant   for
acquiring non-building assets such as  furnitures,  office  equipments  etc.
The State Governments have to provide  the  land  for  construction  of  new
buildings for the Consumer Fora. The Committee  has  noted  that  the  State
Governments have not been quick enough to allot  land  for  construction  of
Consumer Fora in their respective States. It has, also, come to  the  notice
of the Committee  that  the  State  Governments  –  responsible  for  timely
filling up of the vacancies of the  Presidents  and  Members  in  the  State
Commissions and District Fora of the states, have failed to  keep  the  time
limit. The Committee has come across instances where the  State  Governments
have taken upto 7/10 months to approve the recommendations of the  Selection
Committee”.




The quality of presiding members, especially of non-judicial members at  the
state and district  levels  is  poor.   One  of  the  reasons  is  that  the
remuneration which is being paid to non-judicial members  of  consumer  fora
varies from state to state and is too meager to  attract  qualified  talent.
Most of the  non-judicial  members  are  not  even  capable  of  writing  or
dictating small orders.  At  certain  places  non-judicial  members  act  in
unison against the presiding officer, while passing orders contrary to  law,
damaging the reputation of the adjudicating body.  Presidents, as a  result,
prefer a situation where such non-judicial members  absent  themselves  from
work if only so that judicial work can  be  carried  out  by  the  presiding
judge  impartially  and  objectively.   Many  non-judicial  members  do  not
maintain punctuality and others attend to work sporadically once or twice  a
week.  The Committee has observed that  that  the  problem  lies  in  –  (i)
absence  of  proper  remuneration;  (ii)  appointment  of  former   judicial
officers who lack motivation  and  zeal;  (iii)  appointment  of  practicing
lawyers as presiding officers of  district  fora;  and  (iv)  political  and
bureaucratic  interference  in  appointments.   Many  of  the   non-judicial
members attend to the place of work only to  sign  orders  which  have  been
drafted by the presiding officer.

4     The Committee has furnished concrete examples of how bureaucratic  and
political influence has marred the selection process as a  result  of  which
the  functioning  of  consumer  fora  is  detrimentally   affected.    Three
instances furnished in the  Report  of  the  Committee  provided  a  telling
example of the state of affairs :

“15). The  Committee  could  make  out  that  there  has  been  considerable
bureaucratic  and  political  influence/interference   in   the   ‘selection
process’  and  functioning  of  the  Consumer  Fora.  Just  to  cite  a  few
instances, the Committee found that relatives  of  politicians,  bureaucrats
and judicial fraternity have been selected. A non-Judicial Member Mr.  Jamal
Akhtar  posted  at  District  Forum  Meerut  has  been   absenting   without
permission since 11.05.2015. The State Government has  failed  to  take  any
action against him. Even the plea of President, State  Commission  has  gone
unheeded. The result is that his post  has  not  been  declared  vacant  and
another non-Judicial Member  posted  elsewhere  has  been  attached  in  his
place.

16). One non-Judicial Member who had her first term at Lucknow and  has  now
been enjoying her Second Term, having  been  appointed  for  District  Forum
Barabanki but has been attached to Greater Noida and  as  per  the  reports,
comes to Forum once or twice a week. Another woman non-Judicial  Member  who
happens to be wife of a bureaucrat was appointed for District Forum  Baghpat
but was attached/posted at  Greater  Noida.  These  few  instances  make  it
crystal clear that there is definite political  influence  and  interference
and in such a scenario, the work of District Consumer Fora  is  affected  as
it results in lowering the morale of the President.

17). In Haryana,  a  non-Judicial  Woman  Member  did/does  not  attend  the
District Forum regularly, as she has to travel around 150/160  KM  everyday.
The President of one District Forum who happens to be  former  President  of
Bar Association has been serving the second term  as  President.  Such  non-
Judicial Members manage to get selected and then misuse  their  position  as
Members, as they call themselves ‘Judges’.”


The selection of persons as presiding officers and as members  of  the  fora
lacks transparency without a fixed criteria for  selection.   The  Committee
has, in our view with justification, proposed that a written test should  be
conducted to assess the knowledge of persons who  apply  for  posts  in  the
district fora.  Issues of conflict  of  interest  also  arise  when  persons
appointed from a local area are appointed to a district forum  in  the  same
area.

5     The position of the National Consumer  Disputes  Redressal  Commission
has emerged from the interactions of the Committee with  the  President  and
members of the Commission.  The serious deficiencies of  infrastructure  are
summarized below :

Sanctioned strength of personnel is far lower than  the  actual  requirement
and is not based on the pendency of cases or on objective norms  adopted  by
statutory organizations;

There are 118 sanctioned  posts  as  against  a  requirement  of  322  while
pendency of cases as on 30 September 2016 is 11,379;

Few personnel work on a regular basis  while  others  who  are  inducted  on
contract cannot be entrusted with work of a regular nature;

The sanctioned strength of six  Assistants,  ten  UDCs  and  eight  LDCs  to
attend on the administrative side to  judicial  filing,  establishment  work
and to the general administration is totally inadequate;

The strength of members has  increased  from  five  in  2003  to  twelve  at
present without a corresponding increase  in  supporting  staff  though  the
average monthly institution of original complaints has increased by 300  per
cent; and

Though the proposal for the creation of posts was sent to the Government  of
India in 2010, only a few posts for catering to the requirement of  a  sixth
Bench (presently there are five) have been sanctioned.   The  Committee  has
recommended that at least 51 posts be  created  immediately  as  an  interim
measure.



The Committee has  noted  that  while  the  salary  and  allowances  of  the
President of the National Commission are equivalent to those of a  Judge  of
the Supreme Court, the conditions of service  of  members  of  the  National
Commission are not at par with those of  the  sitting  judges  of  the  High
Court.  The National Commission hears appeals and revisions  against  orders
of the State Commissions, whose Presidents are treated at  par  with  judges
of the High Court. An  anomalous  situation  prevails  where  members  of  a
higher forum (the National Commission) have conditions of  service  inferior
to those applicable to members of a forum lower in hierarchy. The  Committee
has proposed that the members of the  National  Commission  should  get  the
same salaries, allowances and conditions of services  as  are  available  to
sitting judges of the High Court.

6     The Committee has opined that it  is  necessary  to  confer  upon  the
President of the National Commission  the  power  to  recruit  and  transfer
staff, to obviate delay in appointments.  Exemption from  consultation  with
the UPSC should, it is proposed, be granted as in the case of several  other
statutory tribunals, such as CAT, AFT and NGT.

7     The posts of President and members of the State  Commission  in  Tamil
Nadu and Jammu & Kashmir are lying vacant  for  more  than  one  year.   The
Committee was assured by the Principal Secretary,  Consumer  Affairs,  Tamil
Nadu on 31 May 2016 that these appointments would be cleared within a  short
period.  However, until the date of the report, no steps  have  been  taken.
The Government of Jammu & Kashmir has failed to  appoint  the  President  of
the State Commission.

8      The  Committee  has  formulated  its  suggestions  to   the   Central
Government in Annexure A and the directions  which  it  has  issued  to  the
state governments in Annexures B to M to the report.

9      The  interim  report  of  the  Committee  provides   an   unfortunate
reflection of the state of affairs in the consumer  fora  at  the  district,
state  and  national  level.   That  these  bodies  which  are  vested  with
important functions of a  judicial  nature  continue  to  work  despite  the
prevalence of such adverse conditions and in the face of the apathy  of  the
governments both at the national and state level is a matter which  requires
immediate intervention by this Court.  A systemic  overhaul  of  the  entire
infrastructure is necessary if the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is  not  to
become a dead letter. With the proliferation of  goods  and  services  in  a
rapidly growing economy,  Parliament  envisaged  the  enactment  to  be  the
corner-stone of a vibrant consumer movement.  Reality has been distant  from
the aspirations of the law.  Since the  state  of  affairs  which  has  been
revealed  before  the  Court  warrants  systemic  changes,  we  propose   to
initially issue directions on certain specific issues in the  present  order
within a judicially manageable framework.  We will now take up each  of  the
issues seriatim so as to enable the court to focus on each  problem  and  on
the nature of the malady before proceeding to formulate the directions :

(1)   Administrative control :

One of the principal problems governing  the  functioning  of  the  district
fora on the one hand and the State Commissions on  the  other  hand  is  the
absence of   clarity  in  regard  to  the  exercise  of  administrative  and
disciplinary control.  Section 24B provides for administrative  control,  in
the following terms :

“24B. Administrative control. –  (1)  The  National  Commission  shall  have
administrative control over all  the  State  Commissions  in  the  following
matters, namely :-

calling   for  periodical  return  regarding  the   institution,   disposal,
pendency of cases;
issuance of instructions regarding adoption  of  uniform  procedure  in  the
hearing of matters, prior service of copies of  documents  produced  by  one
party  to  the  opposite  parties,  furnishing  of  English  translation  of
judgments written in any language, speedy grant of copies of documents;
generally overseeing  the  functioning  of  the  State  Commissions  or  the
District Fora to ensure that the objects and purposes of the  Act  are  best
served without in any way interfering with their quasi-judicial freedom.

(2) The State Commission shall have  administrative  control  over  all  the
District Fora within its jurisdiction in all matters  referred  to  in  sub-
section (1)”.                         (emphasis supplied)

Clause (iii) of sub-section (1) of Section 24B  confers  upon  the  National
Commission  the  power  of  administrative  control  over  all   the   State
Commissions to generally oversee the functioning of  the  State  Commissions
or the district fora to ensure that the objects and purposes of the Act  are
best served.  However, this is to be achieved without interfering  with  the
quasi-judicial freedom of the  State  Commissions  and  the  district  fora.
Under sub-section (2) the State Commission is conferred with  administrative
control over all the district fora within its jurisdiction  in  all  matters
referred to in sub-section (1), which will necessarily cover  clause  (iii).
The power of administrative  control  which  has  been  conferred  upon  the
National Commission in relation to the State Commissions and upon the  State
Commissions in relation to the  district  fora  is  an  entrustment  with  a
purpose; the object being to oversee the functioning of the forum, which  is
subject to its administrative  control  so  as  to  ensure  that  it  is  an
effective instrument  of  rendering  justice  to  consumers.  The  power  of
administrative control is couched in wide terms.  The  power  would  include
overseeing the functioning of the State Commissions and  the  district  fora
in all administrative  matters.  This  would  include  the  posting  of  and
control over members, appointment of and control  over  manpower,  provision
of adequate  infrastructure  and  the  streamlining  of  all  administrative
matters (except the exercise of the judicial power in  deciding  complaints,
appeals and revisions).  The difficulties which  have  been  encountered  in
the proper functioning of the district fora and the  State  Commissions  can
be obviated in a large measure  once  the  true  ambit  of  Section  24B  is
construed, by vesting  full  powers  of  an  administrative  nature  in  the
National Commission (in relation to the State Commissions) and in the  State
Commissions (in relation to district fora).   In  the  National  Commission,
the exercise of administrative authority over the  State  Commissions  shall
be vested in  the  President.   Similarly,  in  the  State  Commissions  the
exercise of administrative control over the district fora  shall  be  vested
in the President.

(2)   Rule making powers :

Rule making powers under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 are  embodied  in
Section 30 which provides as follows :

“30. Power to make rules.-
(1) The Central

  Government  may,  by  notification,  make  rules  for  carrying  out   the
provisions contained in clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section  2,  clause
(b) of sub-section (2) of section 4, sub-section  (2)  of  section  5,  sub-
section (2) of section 12, clause (vi) of sub-section  (4)  of  section  13,
clause (hb) of sub-section (1) of section 14,  section  19,  clause  (b)  of
sub-section (1) and sub-section (2) of section 20, section  22  and  section
23 of this Act.

(2) The State Government may, by notification, make rules for  carrying  out
the provisions contained in clause (b) of sub-section  (2)  and  sub-section
(4) of section 7, clause (b) of  sub-section  (2)  and  sub-section  (4)  of
Section 8A, clause (b) of sub-section (1) and sub-section(3) of section  10,
clause (c) of sub-section (1) of section 13, clause (hb) of sub-section  (1)
and sub-section (3) of section 14, section 15 and clause (b) of  sub-section
(1) and  sub-section (2) of section 16 of this Act.”



The composition of the district fora is provided in  Section  10  while  the
composition of the State Commissions is  provided  in  Section  16.  Section
10(3) provides as follows :

“10.
        …

(3) The salary or honorarium and other allowances payable to, and the  other
terms and conditions of service of the members of the District  Forum  shall
be such as may be prescribed by the State Government:

[Provided that the appointment of a member  on  whole-time  basis  shall  be
made by the State Government on the recommendation of the President  of  the
State  Commission  taking  into  consideration  such  factors  as   may   be
prescribed including the work load of the District Forum.]

    The pension received by the presidents of the  District  Consumer  Forum
in respect of their previous services  as  District  Judges  is  subject  to
deduction  from  their  salary  as  president  of  the  Forum  fixed   under
provisions of the Act.”

In relation to the State Commissions sub-section (2) of Section 16  provides
as follows:

“16.

1      …


(2) The salary or honorarium and other allowances payable to, and the  other
terms and


conditions of service of, the members of the State Commission shall be  such
as may be prescribed by the State Government.

[Provided that the appointment of a member  on  whole-time  basis  shall  be
made by the State Government on the recommendation of the President  of  the
State  Commission  taking  into  consideration  such  factors  as   may   be
prescribed including the work load of the State Commission.]”



Hence, the state governments are required under sub-section (3)  of  Section
10 and under sub-section (2) of Section  16  to  prescribe  the  salary  or,
honorarium, allowances and the other terms and conditions of service of  the
members of the district fora and of the State Commission.

10    Section 10 provides for composition of the district forum. Clause  (b)
of sub-section (1) of Section 10 stipulates the appointment of  two  members
(apart from the President, who is to be or  should  have  been  or  must  be
qualified to be a district judge).  Section 10(1)(b) is as follows:

“Composition of the District Forum :

Each District Forum shall consist of …

(b). two other members, one of whom shall be a woman,  who  shall  have  the
following qualifications, namely:-

(i) be not less than thirty-five years of age,

(ii) possess a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university,

(iii) be persons of ability,  integrity  and  standing,  and  have  adequate
knowledge and experience of at least ten  years  in  dealing  with  problems
relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public  affairs
or administration.”

Section 16(1)(b) provides for  appointment  of  the  members  of  the  State
Commission (apart from the president who is to be  or  should  have  been  a
judge of the High Court).   Section  16(1)(b)  in  so  far  as  is  material
provides as follows :

“16. Composition of the State Commission :

(1) Each State Commission shall consist of –

       ...

16(1)(b) Each State Commission shall consist of not less than two,  and  not
more than such number of members, as may be  prescribed,  and  one  of  whom
shall be a woman, who shall have the following qualifications, namely :-

(i) be not less than thirty-five years of age;

(ii)possess a bachelor’s degree from a recognised university; and

(iii) be persons of ability,  integrity  and  standing,  and  have  adequate
knowledge and experience of at least ten  years  in  dealing  with  problems
relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public  affairs
or administration.”



11    The Central government is vested with rule making  power  in  relation
to Section 20(1)(b) – relating to appointments of members  of  the  National
Commission under Section 30. The rule making power  with  reference  to  the
provisions of Section 10(1)(b) and Section 16(1)(b) is vested in  the  State
government under Section 30.  The difficulty arises because the  vesting  of
the rule making power in the state governments in this manner may result  in
a lack of uniformity of rules across the country,  both  in  regard  to  the
terms and conditions of service as well as in regard to  the  modalities  to
be followed in ensuring  that  persons  appointed  as  members  fulfill  the
qualifications  which  are  prescribed.  Both  in  relation  to  the   State
Commissions and the district fora, a member must be a person of ability  and
standing with adequate knowledge and experience of at  least  ten  years  in
dealing with problems relating to  economics,  law,  commerce,  accountancy,
industry,  public  affairs  or  administration.   These  are  broad  general
categories.  There can be no gainsaying the importance of  adopting  unified
standards and objective processes of selection from a national  perspective.
This would ensure an  objective  formulation  of  norms  and  their  uniform
application in different states  in  the  country.   In  the  absence  of  a
uniform pattern, the result is a wide variation in  standards  and  a  great
deal of subjectivity, and bureaucratic  and  political  interference,  which
has been noticed in the reports submitted by the Committee  to  this  Court.
The Committee which has looked at the entire matter in perspective  consists
of a former judge of this Court, a former judge of  the  Delhi  High  Court,
and the Secretary to the  Union  Government  in  the  Ministry  of  Consumer
Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.  The findings  of  the  Committee  in
the interim report are entitled to deference.

12    In these circumstances, we hold that Section 24B vests  administrative
control over  the  State  Commissions  in  the  President  of  the  National
Commission and over the  district  fora  in  the  Presidents  of  the  State
Commissions.  The extent of the  administrative  control  shall  be  in  all
matters relating to the administrative functioning of  the  forum  concerned
including but not limited  to  assignment  of  judicial  and  administrative
work; posting, transfer and control  over  members;  selection,  appointment
and disciplinary matters relating to the staff  of  the  district  fora  and
State  Commissions  and   in   relation   provisioning   and   meeting   the
infrastructural  requirements  of  those  bodies.    The   requirements   of
infrastructure  shall  be  met  in  coordination  with  the  Departments  of
Consumer Affairs of the states concerned and, in relation  to  the  National
Commission in coordination with the  Union  Ministry  of  Consumer  Affairs,
Food and Public Distribution.

13    We also  direct  the  Union  Government  to  frame  model  rules  with
reference to the provisions  of  Section  10(1)(b)  and  Section  10(2)  and
Section 16(1)(b) and Section 16(2),  within  four  months  from  today.  The
model rules so framed shall be placed before this Court  for  its  approval.
After the model rules are approved by  this  Court,  the  state  governments
shall while exercising their rule making authority  with  reference  to  the
provisions of Section 10(1)(b) and Section 16(1)(b) and  with  reference  to
the provisions of Sections 10(3) and 16(2) frame rules  in  conformity  with
the model rules.  Existing rules, if  any,  shall  have  to  be  brought  in
conformity with the model rules.

14    Under Section 30(A)(1) the National Commission is empowered, with  the
previous approval of  the  Central  Government,  to  frame  regulations  not
inconsistent with the Act to provide for all matters for which provision  is
necessary or expedient for the purpose of giving effect  to  the  provisions
of  the  Act.   It  is  necessary  for  the  National  Commission  to  frame
regulations expeditiously to  give  effect  to  its  administrative  control
under Section 24B.  The Regulations shall inter alia extend to ensuring  the
effective exercise of administrative  control  by  the  National  Commission
over the State Commissions and by the latter over the district fora.

15    Under Section 24B the adjudicatory fora under the Consumer  Protection
Act, 1986 have been constituted to resolve complaints  of  consumers  about:
(i) unfair or restrictive trade practices by traders and service  providers;
(ii) defects in goods  purchased  or  agreed  to  be  purchased;  and  (iii)
deficiencies in the provision of services availed of or hired.

Against the decision of the district forum  upon  an  original  complaint  a
remedy of an  appeal  is  provided  to  the  State  Commission.   The  State
Commission also has jurisdiction where the amount claimed is  in  excess  of
Rupees twenty lakhs (complaints below that amount lie  before  the  district
fora) and  upto  Rupees  one  crore.   Appeals  from  orders  of  the  State
Commission lie to  the  National  Commission.    Apart  from  its  appellate
jurisdiction the National Commission has the power to  entertain  complaints
where the value of goods or services and compensation sought exceeds  Rupees
one crore.  The Committee has noted that in the  Consumer  Protection  Bill,
2015 the pecuniary jurisdiction of the district fora is to  be  enhanced  to
Rupees one crore.  The proposed expansion of pecuniary limits  requires  the
strengthening of the quality of adjudication in the district fora.   Members
of the forum  must  be  aware  of  the  responsibility  vested  in  them  as
adjudicating officers.  There is a need to ensure checks and balances.   The
work which is performed by the consumer fora constituted in the  three  tier
hierarchy provided under law is of a judicial nature.   The  district  forum
is vested with powers of a Civil Court under the Code  of  Civil  Procedure,
1908 while trying a suit in respect of various matters set  out  in  Section
13(4).  These provisions apply to the State Commission under Section 18  and
to the National Commission under Section 22.   Both  having  regard  to  the
significant  adjudicatory  powers  that  are   conferred   upon   the   fora
constituted  under  the  Act  and  particularly  in  the  context   of   the
observations contained in the interim report of the Committee, we have  come
to the conclusion that the above directions are  necessary  to  inculcate  a
sense of discipline and accountability  amongst  the  members  of  the  fora
constituted under the Act.

16    The Committee has sought the directions of this Court specifically  in
the following terms :

“a) The state of Tamil  Nadu  be  directed  to  appoint  the  President  and
Members of the State Commission at the earliest;
b) The State of Jammu & Kashmir be directed to  appoint  the  President  and
Member of the State Commission at the earliest; and
c) The State of Uttar Pradesh be directed to take  appropriate  disciplinary
action against Mr. Jamal Akhtar, non-judicial member of District  Forum  for
his unauthorized absence for over a year, forthwith.”



We find justification  in  this  request  of  the  Committee.   The  reliefs
mentioned in (a) and (b) above are allowed.  A copy of this order  shall  be
served on the Chief Secretaries respectively of the  States  of  Tamil  Nadu
and Jammu & Kashmir for compliance within a period of two  months  from  the
receipt of a copy.  As regards  prayer  (c),  the  President  of  the  State
Commission in Uttar Pradesh shall cause a notice  to  be  served  upon  Shri
Jamal Akhtar posted at the district forum, Meerut, who  has  been  absenting
himself without permission allegedly since 11 May 2015.  The  Committee  has
noted that the state government has failed to take action  against  him  and
even the plea of the President of the State Commission  has  gone  unheeded.
We order and direct that the President of the State  Commission  shall  upon
the issuance of a notice to show  cause  to  Shri  Jamal  Akhtar  and  after
furnishing him an opportunity of submitting his explanation submit a  report
to the state government, preferably within one month from the receipt  of  a
copy of this order. The state  government  shall  thereupon  pass  necessary
orders in accordance with law no  later  than  within  a  fortnight  of  the
receipt of the report of the President of the State Commission.

17    The Committee has annexed to its report at Annexures B to M copies  of
the letters issued by it to the Chief  Secretaries  to  the  governments  of
Orissa, NCT of  Delhi,  Haryana,  Punjab,  Union  Territory  of  Chandigarh,
Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra   Pradesh  and    Telegana
on 14 October  2016 for rectification of deficiencies in infrastructure  and
resolution of various aspects.    By  the  order  of  this  Court  dated  14
January 2016 the Committee was permitted to forward its  recommendations  to
each state government concerned  for  appropriate  steps  in  a  time  bound
manner.  A copy of the recommendations was directed to be submitted to  this
Court to enable it to issue directions should  the  recommendations  not  be
implemented by the state governments. Since the  recommendations  have  been
made after a detailed inspection and in  the  interests  of  facilitating  a
proper implementation of the provisions of the Act, we  hereby  direct  each
of the state governments concerned to implement the recommendations  of  the
Committee within a period of three months. The Secretary  to  the  Committee
is requested to forward a copy  of  this  order  to  the  Chief  Secretaries
concerned to secure compliance as directed.

18    Hence in  terms  of  the  above  discussion  we  issue  the  following
directions :

(i)          The  Union  Government  shall  for  the  purpose  of   ensuring
uniformity in the exercise of the rule making power under Section 10(3)  and
Section 16(2) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986  frame  model  rules  for
adoption by the state governments. The model rules shall  be  framed  within
four months and shall be submitted to this Court for its approval;

(ii)  The Union Government shall also frame within four months  model  rules
prescribing objective norms  for  implementing  the  provisions  of  Section
10(1)(b),  Section  16(1)(b)  and  Section  20(1)(b)  in   regard   to   the
appointment of members respectively of the District fora, State  Commissions
and National Commission;

(iii) The Union Government shall while framing  the  model  rules  have  due
regard to the formulation of objective  norms  for  the  assessment  of  the
ability, knowledge and experience required to be possessed  by  the  members
of the respective fora in the domain areas  referred  to  in  the  statutory
provisions mentioned above. The model rules shall provide  for  the  payment
of salary, allowances and for the conditions of service of  the  members  of
the consumer fora commensurate with the nature of  adjudicatory  duties  and
the need to attract suitable talent to the adjudicating bodies. These  rules
shall be finalized upon due consultation with the President of the  National
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, within the period stipulated above;

Upon the approval of the model rules by this Court,  the  state  governments
shall proceed to adopt the model rules by framing appropriate rules  in  the
exercise of the  rule  making  powers  under  Section  30  of  the  Consumer
Protection Act, 1986;

The  National  Consumer  Disputes  Redressal  Commission  is  requested   to
formulate regulations under Section 30A with the previous  approval  of  the
Central Government within a period of three months from today  in  order  to
effectuate the power  of  administrative  control  vested  in  the  National
Commission over the State Commissions under  Section  24(B)(1)(iii)  and  in
respect of the administrative control of  the  State  Commissions  over  the
District fora in terms of Section 24(B)(2) as explained in this Judgment  to
effectively implement the objects and purposes of  the  Consumer  Protection
Act, 1986.



19    The proceedings shall now be listed  before  this  Court  on  7  March
2017, for further directions and for reporting compliance.




.......................................CJI
                                                      [T S  THAKUR]


       ..........................................J
                                                      [Dr D Y  CHANDRACHUD]



...........................................J
                                                    [L NAGESWARA RAO]


New Delhi
November 21, 2016.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.