NEW DELHI: To dispose of pending consumer cases more smoothly, centre has notified new model code of rules for appointment of judges at various positions in consumer forums and charts out ways by which vacancy can be filled on timely basis.
The code specifies that President of district consumer forums would be serving district judges while state consumer commission will have a President who is a sitting High court judge. At present there are more than 5 lakh consumer disputes cases pending in India. In absence of the rules of appointment, as many as 400 vacancies have arisen due to which the pendency in consumer courts have increased.
The code also specifies that any consumer forum at any level won't be able to keep more than 500 cases pending at a given time and necessary steps should be taken to minimise the pendency. In case average case filing goes above 1500 in a year in a district consumer forum, state government should establish an additional district court in the district. It was also laid down by the Department of Consumer Affairs that those positions that are likely to get vacant in case of retirement should be filled up immediately and this process should be completed in six months time in advance.
Earlier this week, the Supreme court has declined to extend term of three members in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) until all seven vacancies are freshly filled up. The inordinate delay in filling up the vacancies at the top consumer body is because of the narrowing down of the criteria of short-listing of applicants by the government.