HYDERABAD:The Government is working on strengthening consumer courts in the country by providing different consumer-friendly measures like allowing complaints from anywhere and simplifying the procedures, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan said here today.
Noting that the bodies dealing with consumer protection issues had different names like forum or commission at different levels till now, he said such bodies would have one name.
"It would be district commission, state commission and national commission. Then we said the complaints would be accepted automatically after 21 days," the consumer affairs minister said.
He was speaking after inaugurating new building of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) here in the presence of Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu.
Observing that consumers had to file complaint from where the product was purchased, he said it would now be allowed to file complaints from anywhere.
"We said you can register your complaint from anywhere, even from home. Fourth, we said there will be no need for a lawyer in the court. You can go and argue," he said.
The amount being dealt by district bodies has been raised from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 50 lakh and that of the state-level bodies has been increased from Rs one crore to Rs 10 crore.
The national commission would deal with amounts more than Rs 10 crore, he said. Conciliation in disputes is now allowedfor any amount.
Paswan said Rs 640 crore damages have been claimed in the Maggi row on two counts which have nothing to do with theBombay High Court verdict.
"Our issues are two. Lead is alright or wrong that is another matter. But, why did you bring the item into the market without FSSAI permission? Second, what you have written on it, the content was different inside. These two things had nothing to do with the judgement of Bombay High Court," he said.
In its verdict earlier this month, the High Court had set aside the countrywide ban on nine variants of Nestle's Maggiinstant noodles, saying the national food regulator had acted in an "arbitrary" manner and not followed the "principles of natural justice" while banning the product.The proposed national consumer authority would address complaints with regard to e-commerce, Paswan said.
"In the new concept, there is a lot of fraud also. You have pressed the button, paid the money also, but goods have not come. Even if goods have come, it is sub-standard. There is no arrangement to see this whole issue. The consumer protection Act is there, there is an authority. That authority would have the powers. The issue of misleading advertisement is there," he said.
The government would also like to make a new Act to replace the 29-year-old Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act to bring in more products under the mandatory standard regime and end the 'inspector raj', the minister added.
Meanwhile, Naidu said the continued disruption ofParliament was not in national interest and that the ruling party and opposition need to discuss the issue to see that Parliament functions.
Noting that there is no justification for disruption of Parliament, he said "politics of development" is needed to take the country forward.