Dr. Mukund Sarda, Principal, New Law College, Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune, recently organized a seminar on ‘Consumer Policy’ in the campus. Present at this event were Maharashtra state commission judicial member S A Kulkarni, Pune district forum president V P Utpat, senior lawyer S K Jain , President of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Justice DK Jain and other eminent personalities.
The event was centered around the proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection ( CP) Act, 1986. As per these amendments, the district consumer forums and state commissions are to get suo motu powers to initiate case in the matters that affect a large number of consumers. This would involve the power to recall and review orders, improved financial jurisdiction, facilitating mediation and changes in recruitment procedures for judicial members.
Justice D K Jain said,”A full draft of the amended CP Act is presently before the Union Cabinet Committee after it was put on the government website for public feedback exercise. It’s almost going to be a new avatar of the CP Act rather than mere amendments.”
He further elaborated, “The key focus of the exercise will be on securing faster disposal of cases. There are certain other administrative issues that need attention besides the powers available to the district forums and the state commissions that need to be reviewed. The amended Act also proposes an independent authority that can take up consumer causes, investigate the same on its own and see if these cases can be filed.”
Mukund Sarda highlighted that at present, district forums and the state commissions have no such powers. They cannot recall and review an order of dismissal of case for non-appearance of parties or failure of counsel to appear. In such situations, a fresh round of appeals reach the National commission and this adds to the burden of cases. By extending the power to recall and review, the burden can be substantially reduced.