Oct 30, 2017
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Consumer Redressal

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Consumer Redressal

Consumer Redressal Agencies are like Courts, we could also call them as Consumer Courts, where a lay person, seeks justice and compensation for any defect, fraud or deficiency found in any good or services purchased or hired by him.

Therefore, the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, has set up Consumer Dispute Redressal Agencies at various district, state and national level in the form of district, state and national forums respectively.

Additionally, it is important for the grieving consumer to know where and and how to file a consumer complain under this Act, to get proper compensation.

As the overview of the Consumer protection Act, 1986, mentions the composition and role of various district, state and national forums, we get to the sole criteria of forming these forums, that is the consumer redressal.

To fall within the jurisdiction of the consumer court, person must fulfill the the criteria of a consumer.

Consumer redressals are easy, one must only know how to file a complaint and where to file it.

I.TYPES OF CONSUMER COURTS:

Consumer court is the generalized term for Redressal Agencies, set up under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

I.REDRESSAL AGENCIES

Consumer Protection Act, 1956, sets up a Redressal Agency in the form of a District Forum, State Commission and  National Commission to achieve the aims and objectives of this Act.

  • 1.District Forum

  1. District Forum consists of a person who is qualified or qualifies as a District Judge as its President.
  2. The forum should consist of  at least one female member among the other members of the forum.
  3. Every member of the District Forum, holds office for a term of 5 years or up to the age of 65 years which ever is earlier.
  4. It has the jurisdiction to entertain complaints, where the value of the goods or services and the compensation claimed does not exceed Rs.20 Lacs.
  •  Power of a District Forum
  1. Remove any defect detected by the appropriate laboratory from the goods in testing.
  2. Replace the defective goods with new goods free of any defect.
  3. Pay the consumer for any loss or injury suffered to him due to negligence of defaulting party.
  4. Furthermore, compensate the complainant for any expense of redressal.
  • 2.State Commission

  1. The State government issues a notification for establishing a State Commission.
  2. Where the value of compensation for goods or services claimed exceeds Rs. 20 Lacs but does not exceed Rs.1 Crore.
  3. Additionally, State Commission can entertain an appeal against the orders of any District Forum within the State.
  • 3.National Commission

  1. National Commission qualifies a person who is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court as the President.
  2. The forum should consists of at least 4 members but not more than the number of members prescribed. Of these number of members, one member has to be woman.
  3. Every member of the National commission holds office for a term of 5 years or up to the age of 70 years, which ever is earlier.
  4. It has jurisdiction to entertain complaints, where the value of goods or services and compensation, claimed exceeds Rs. 1 Crore.
  5. Moreover, it can entertain appeals against the orders of any State Commission.

II.Consumer Protection Councils:

  • District Consumer Protection Council

District Consumer Protection Council shall consists of;

  1. The Collector of the district, as the Chairman of the council,
  2. Any number of other official and non-official members as the State Government prescribes,
  3. The District Council meets at least twice in every year,
  4. Additionally, the State Government also prescribes its various procedures.
  • State Consumer Protection Council

State Consumer Protection Council consists of;

  1. A Minister of the State government in-charge of consumer affairs as the Chairman,
  2. Any number of other official and non-official members as the State Government prescribes,
  3. The State Council meets at least twice every year.
  4. Additionally, the State Government also prescribes its various procedures.
  • Central Consumer Protection Council

Central Consumer Protection Council consists of;

  1.  A Minister of the Central Government in-charge of Consumer Affairs as the Chairman,
  2. Any number of other official and non-official members as the Central Government prescribes,
  3.  The Central Council shall meet at least once a year.

2.Where to file a consumer complaint?

An aggrieved consumer should know the jurisdiction of a consumer court that applies to him as per the valuation of his goods or services availed.

  • District court – Up to Rs.20 lakh.
  • State commission – Rs 20 lakh to Rs. 1 crore.
  • National commission – Above Rs. 1 crore.

The Consumer has to take both the territorial and pecuniary jurisdiction of the tribunal into consideration.

Territorial Jurisdiction of the Consumer Courts:-

District Forum or State Commission or National can institute a complaint within the local limits of their jurisdiction—

a)  the opposite party resides or caries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain, or

b)   If there are more than one opposite aprty, then any one of the opposite parties resides, or carries on business or has a branch office, or personally works for gain,

Provided that in such cases the permission of either District Forum, State Commission or National Commission as the case may be, or the opposite parties who do not reside in such place or carry on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain as the case may be, must be obtained , or

c) where, the cause of action arose.

The cost to claim a consumer redressal is quite reasonable, it depends on the value of goods.

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