NEW DELHI: The disposal of Cases Filed in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), the country’s apex consumer commission, is at its lowest in four years while the number of cases has hit an all-time high.
According to details available on the central online database of consumer forums (CONFONET), the number of cases disposed of by the NCDRC was 5,812 till Tuesday, against 10,678 cases filed and restored during the year. The share of restored cases, not inititally pursued by complainants but which they later sought to resolve, is low, at nearly 300.
Raising concerns over the dwindling number of cases disposed of in comparison to the number of complaints filed, NCDRC president Justice D K Jain had recently said he was disheartened that people were not getting the relief they expected when approaching the commission. “The increase in cases filed indicates that the consumers have become more aware… But we are not meeting their expectation. This disheartens me,” Justice Jain said on national consumer day.
Ideally, every case filed in the forums must be disposed of in three to six months. But in 2017 the average period between two hearings in the NCDRC has been more than three months. “The consumer forums were created for quicker redressal of consumer disputes. But these have become like normal courts and the purpose gets defeated if people have to wait for years to get relief,” said consumer rights activist Bejon Mishra.
One of the reasons for the drastic fall in disposal of cases has been the four vacancies for members that the government is struggling to fill.
Considering this serious situation, the Supreme Court recently extended the retirement of members and its chairman by three months to give more time for the government to find replacements.
The biggest impact of low disposal has been on flat buyers. According to CONFONET data, 60% of the cases filed are from the housing sector, followed by insurance, banking and medical sectors. “People moved the NCDRC hoping to get quick justice. But long adjournments have dashed our hopes,” said Gaurav Prakash, who is involved in an online campaign to strengthen the apex consumer commission.
Source : timesofindia
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