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Frequent adjournments leading to pendency of cases at consumer courts: Experts

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New Delhi, June 20 (Ajit Weekly News) The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions in Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttarakhand have less than 50 per cent disposal rate, adding to the overall pendency of over six lakh cases at the national, state and district level consumer courts.

“Among the states, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh state commissions have the highest disposal rate while the laggard states include Maharashtra, Haryana, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Assam, Jharkhand and Bihar. These state commissions have less than 50 per cent disposal rate,” said a top official from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

Even with 89 per cent disposal rate, as on date, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has 22,762 cases pending (since inception); the various State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (SCDRCs) have a pendency of 1,49,608 cases while the similar fora at the district level (DCRDC) have the highest pendency at 4,66,034.

Logistics issues such as facilities for e-filing, e-hearing etc., availability of adequate judges at national, state and district level, frequent adjournments, and technical hurdles were among the reasons that cases coming to the consumer courts are pending, it was revealed at the national workshop on ‘Effective and Speedy Consumer Disputes Redressal’.

The cliche ‘Tareekh Pe Tareekh’ a.k.a. adjournment of hearing for any reason was the topic of discussion as one of the reasons for increasing pendency of cases in consumer courts.

Referring to the practice of seeking adjournment by either activists or by influential industries or brands, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Piyush Goyal, said, “Do not get influenced by either consumer activists or big industry who request adjournments often. If you reduce adjournments, it will help in speedy justice and speedy disposal of cases.

Goyal also suggested ending all pendency by December when the National Consumer Awareness Day is celebrated.

Justice R.K. Aggrawal, President, NCDRC, mentioned the inadequate number of judges at the national, state and district levels which add to the overall pendency of the cases.

–Ajit Weekly News

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