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Articles from print media

Now, filing consumer complaints may get easier with forums in home districts

Postby naveenarichwal » Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:12 am

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi ... 865002.cms

NEW DELHI: In a major move to empower consumers, the consumer affairs department has proposed to allow filing of cases against entities such as builders, companies and service providers in the consumer forum in the district where a complainant lives.

This is one of the key amendments, proposed in the Consumer Protection Act. Another major change mooted is to ensure that the district forums admit complaints within 24 days.

At present, a consumer can file a case in the district consumer dispute redressal forum where the defaulting entity has its main office or a branch office.

For example, if a Mumbai-based person has bought a flat in Delhi, he has to file complaint, if any, only in Delhi if the entity doesn't have any branch office in Mumbai.

Now a new clause is being added to the jurisdiction of district forums "to allow the complainant to file a complaint in district forum where he resides or works".

READ ALSO: Real estate bill will empower consumer

"It's a welcome proposal, which will reduce inconvenience and harassment of consumers to a large extent. Their time and money will be saved. This will help them to pursue their cases properly. It will also encourage more consumers to approach the forums in case of disputes," said lawyer Saurabh Jain.

He said people hesitate to file cases if they shift their work place or reside in a different city. "You can't expect a man living or working in Mumbai to visit Delhi frequently to pursue his case," Jain said.

Another major change mooted is to ensure that the district forums admit complaints within 24 days. The draft proposal, circulated for inviting comments, says that if the forums fail to do so within the specified period "it shall be deemed to have been admitted". The only exception is where the complainant fails to appear before the consumer forum on the day of hearing for admissibility without a reasonable ground.

The proposed amendment also says, "..if another date of hearing for admissibility is fixed within the next 21 days from the date of last hearing for admissibility and the complainant fails to appear without any reasonable ground, the admissibility of the complaint shall be decided on merit based on the available papers or if no date of hearing for admissibility is fixed within 21 days from the last date of hearing for admissibility, the complaint shall be deemed to have been admitted on the expiry of such 21 days."
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