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Supreme Court sets up Panel under Justice Arijit Pasayat to beef up Consumer Courts

Consumer Rights
Consumer Rights

February,9,2016: Nearly 30 years after enactment of a legislation to protect consumers from malpractices of retailers and product manufacturers, the Supreme Court appointed a high-level committee to look into the functioning of consumer protection courts and suggest remedial measures.
A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi appointed a three-member panel comprising former SC judge Arijit Pasayat, Delhi HC exjudge Rekha Sharma and the Union secretary for consumer affairs or his nominee and asked the committee to carry out a nine-point scrutiny.

The panel was set up after additional solicitor general Maninder Singh informed the SC that the Centre recognised the importance of removing deficiencies in the forums and commissions to make them effective and efficient for speedy disposal of consumer disputes.

As many as 372,378 cases were pending across national, state and district forums as of June 1, 2015 which included 273,010 cases in district forums alone. In 2013, the government had said 352,724 cases were pending in various forums — 94,330 cases in state commissions and 247,733 cases in districts.

The scrutiny by the Pasayat-headed panel will include infrastructure requirement of state panels in terms of office space; vacancy position at national commissions and district forums; need for additional benches of national, state and district panels; difficulties faced by litigants; service conditions and salaries of members of the forums; and, desirability and feasibility of creating separate cadre for staff in the national, state and district forums.

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