NEW DELHI: Sticking to the no adjournment policy has turned out to be a big relief for the consumers fighting their cases before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
National Consumer Commission headed by Justice D K Jain has directed consumer courts across the country to adhere to the no adjournment policy and quick disposal of cases in minimum possible time (initial relief in 15 days) deadline for disposing off the case.
Since the adoption of this policy, mere 10,302 cases are pending in the National Consumer Court with a disposal rate of 89.77 per cent.
The improvement in rate of disposal was followed with the apex court ruling in December, 2015 which directed that a party will not get more than 45 days for replying to a complaint in a consumer forum. The court said this period cannot be extended under any circumstances.
Underlining that Consumer Protection Act, 1986, aims at providing expeditious relief to consumers against unfair trade practices and deficiency in services, a three-judge bench led by Justice Anil R Dave held that no party shall henceforth be given more than 45 days to adduce explanation to a complaint. If a party fails to do so, the right to submit a written statement shall be closed and the case may be decided straightaway in the complainant’s favour.
“We are trying to streamline the process and have asked all consumer courts to write the verdict within 15 days of a hearing. Earlier, lawyers would come unprepared for the hearing, but ever since we have become tough on adjournments, we have seen results,” said an official from the National Consumer Commission.
To maintain the speedy disposal at the same pace, it is also mandatory on the part of state governments to take action for filling vacancies for presidents and members and have a panel of candidates in place for filling vacancies and preventing delay in appointments.