Here's the complaint against the consumer fora and commissions.
File: Comp/cm contpgm-consumer-221111 22 Nov 2011
COMPLAINT- CM’S CONTACT PROGRAM, PALAKKAD:
DISTRICT CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL FORUM, PALAKKAD (CDRF), KERALA STATE CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (CDRC) AND THE MINISTER FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION, GOVT OF KERALA
1. The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) was enacted to provide fast and free justice to consumers. But over the years the consumer fora and commissions set up under this law have turned this into a Consumer Persecution Act. Complaints to even the Minister for Consumer Protection have been futile. To list a few of the complaints:
1.1. The CDRF is not disposing off the complaints within the period specified by the law (3months). As per information received under the RTI Act, as on 31/5/2010, there were 109 cases pending for more than 3 months, but less than 1 year; 37 pending for more than1 year but less than 3 years and 15 pending for more than 3 years. On 18 Jun 2011 when I inspected the documents at the CDRF I was shocked to find even cases of 1996 listed as late as 19/2/2008!
1.2. In spite of such criminal delay, the CDRF has been holding sittings for less than one hour per day. By their own adminssion they hold sittings for two hours per day but even a cursory look at the cause list will convince anyone that it cannot be more than one hour per day!
1.3. Even these sittings are not held punctually with hearings sometimes commencing as late as 11.15 am! And the parties to the complaint are helpless to complain.
1.4. Even in the matter of adjournments the CDRF does not follow the law. As per the rules on the subject when a party seeks adjournment without adequate reasons the opposite party is to be paid Rs 500/ as compensation. As a matter of protest I have myself not collected Rs 1000/- due to me from a decision in my favour which came after 9 years!
1.5. In OP 282/99 (OP No 85/95 transferred from Malappuram), the opposite party had produced interim stay order on 28/10/99 and the stay was vacated only on 8/6/2005 but through out this period the case was listed 58 times and adjourned! It was finally posted for orders on 6/7/07 but was opened for re-hearing suo moto on 15/2/08 and went on an adjournment spree from 3/3/08 to 31/5/2010. During this spree it was adjourned 17 times, including 5 times for want of members/President and 10 times for orders only! It was dismissed when an application was submitted under the RTI Act to find out the status!
1.6. The CDRF in complaint No CC159/06 took 8 months to illegally dismiss it saying that it has no jurisdiction!
1.7. If that is the case with CDRF the complaint against CDRC is worse. The decisions of the CDRC are not merely a mockery of justice and insult to comon sense but gross subversion of the justice delivery system itself. The following documents are proof:
1.7.1. Notice for hearing in IA 568/08 in FA 210/2008 and
1.7.2. Orders in FA 210/2008
Needless to say the order which says that no application for condoning the delay has been submitted can only be a fraud when as per their own records they have issued a notice for a hearing on that very application (IA or Interim Appeal in their jargon!)
1.8. These issues had been brought to the notice of the Minister Food & Civil Supplies, Consumer Protection etc, through my letter No Comp/minofcs ker-cdrfpkd n kscdrc-080111 dated 08 Jan 2011. On getting no response and on enquiry through an application under the RTI Act on action taken on the complaints, the reply received was that it had been forwarded to the Secretary, FCS! And even the Minister’s office had not complied with the provision of the RTI Act in the matter of forwarding the application also to the Secretary FCS to provide info on the status inspite of it being specifically asked in the application itself!
2. While I have taken the case of one quasi judicial organisation to highlight the gross failure of the system, the same would apply to all other quasi judicial organistions also- the human rights commission, information commission etc. They are worse than white elephants, draining the exhequer as if there was no tomorrow. It had been reported in the media how a former Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission had been holding sittings at Guruvayur on the 1st of every Malaylam month! Can anyone show any of these quasi judicial organisations holding sittings with such regularity even at every district headquarters? Are the members holding erratic and notional sittings at different locations just to cover their moves for private purposes ?
3. For reasons given above, it is imperative that a cell be set up in the CM’s office to monitor these quasi judicial organisations and take action on complaints against them. To claim that the government cannot do anything with respect o the functioning of these bodies would be blashphemous. For every law enacated it is for the government to specify the rules also. Not to specify pragmatic rules to enforce the rules asa well as to monitor the performance of the enforcers and attend to the grievances of the targetted beneficiaries, would be gross derelection of duty.