KOCHI: The Central Government has been going ahead with its Jago Grahak Jago (wake up consumers, wake up) campaign, but it has failed to wake Kerala up from its state of slumber.
The state is known for its fights for rights, but most of the district consumer dispute redressal forums (DCDRF) have been remaining dormant for the past few years, mainly due to the political indifference shown by the state governments in appointing forum members. The functioning of the district forums, except Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kasaragod, has been affected as the posts of president and members currently lie vacant.
As many as 23,000 petitions are pending with the state and district forums due to delay in appointing members.
The state panel’s new president assumed charge only in May.“Several serious petitions are pending before the forums, 1,700 in Ernakulam and 800 in Kottayam, where no sitting has been held since last October and December respectively. The forum is now defunct in Alappuzha,” said Ernakulam DCDRF former member Shean Jose Valiyaveettil.
A selection committee comprising State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission president as chairman, Law Secretary as member and Consumers Affairs Department secretary as convener selects the members.
Consumer Affairs Department Secretary Mini Antony said, “It has been decided to fill all seats by July 31. We completed interviews for the members of five districts last week.”
Meanwhile, the High Court has registered a suo motu case following the undue delay in the appointment of presidents and members of the state and district forums. The hearing of the case has been posted to July 15, according to lawyer Megha Mohan.