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CONSUMER COMMISSIONS

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CONSUMER COMMISSIONS
By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN
October 21, 2020
All Articles by: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN       View Profile
  • Contents

The Central Government enacted an Act entitled ‘The Consumer Protection Act, 2019’ with an objective to provide for protection of the interests of consumers and for the said purpose, to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers' disputes and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.  This Act repealed the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The new Act is somewhat different to the erstwhile Act and many new concepts have been inserted in the new Act.  A new regulatory Authority is also proposed to be established.  But there is no difference in the constitution of Consumer Commission.  The Act provides for three Commissions as detailed below-

  • District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (District Commission);
  • State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (State Commission);
  • National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (National Commission).

District Commission

Section 2(15) of the Act defines the expression ‘District Commission’ as a District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established under sub-section (1) of section 28.  The State Government shall appoint District Commission in each District in its State.   The State Government may, if it deems fit, establish more than one District Commission in a district. Each District Commission shall consist of a President and not less than two and not more than such number of members as may be prescribed, in consultation with the Central Government.

The Central Government may, by notification, make rules to provide for the qualifications, method of recruitment, procedure for appointment, term of office, resignation and removal of the President and members of the District Commission.   The State Government may, by notification, make rules to provide for salaries and allowances and other terms and conditions of service of the President, and members of the District Commission.

Transitional provisions

Any person appointed as President or, as the case may be, a member of the District Commission immediately before the commencement of this Act shall hold office as such as President or, as the case may be, as member till the completion of his term for which he has been appointed.

Vacancy

If, at any time, there is a vacancy in the office of the President or member of a District Commission, the State Government may, by notification, direct-

  • any other District Commission specified in that notification to exercise the jurisdiction in respect of that district also; or
  • the President or a member of any other District Commission specified in that notification to exercise the powers and discharge the functions of the President or member of that District Commission also.

Officers and employees

The State Government shall provide the District Commission with such officers and other employees as may be required to assist the District Commission in the discharge of its functions.  The officers and other employees of the District Commission shall discharge their functions under the general superintendence of the President of the District Commission.  The salaries and allowances payable to, and the other terms and conditions of service of, the officers and other employees of the District Commission shall be such as may be prescribed.

Jurisdiction

The District Commission shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services paid as consideration does not exceed one crore rupees.   Where the Central Government deems it necessary so to do, it may prescribe such other value, as it deems fit.

State Commission

Section 2(44) of the Act defines the expression ‘State Commission’ as a State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established under sub-section (1) of section 42.  The
State Government shall establish the State Commission that may be situated at the State Capital.  The State Government shall perform its functions at such other places as the State Government may in consultation with the State Commission notify in the Official Gazette.  The State Government may, by notification, establish regional Benches of the State Commission, at such places, as it deems fit.

Members of the State Commission

Each State Government shall have a President and not less than four members and not more than such number of members as may be prescribed in consultation of the Central Government. 

The Central Government may, by notification, make rules to provide for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of the President and members of the State Commission.

The State Government may, by notification, make rules to provide for salaries and allowances and other terms and conditions of service of the President and members of the State Commission.

Transitional provisions

Any person appointed as President or, as the case may be, a member of the State Commission immediately before the commencement of this Act shall hold office as such, as President or member, as the case may be, till the completion of his term.

Officers and employees

The State Government shall determine the nature and categories of the officers and other employees required to assist the State Commission in the discharge of its functions and provide the Commission with such officers and other employees as it may think fit.  The officers and other employees of the State Commission shall discharge their functions under the general superintendence of the President.  The salaries and allowances payable to and the other terms and conditions of service of, the officers and other employees of the State Commission shall be such as may be prescribed.

Jurisdiction

The State Commission shall have jurisdiction-

  • to entertain-
  • complaints where the value of goods or services paid as consideration exceeds rupees one crore but not exceed rupees ten crores; where the Central Government deems it necessary so to do it may prescribe at such other value, as it deems fit;
  • complaints against unfair contracts, where the value of goods or services paid as consideration exceeds rupees ten crores;
  • appeals against the orders of District Commission within the State;
  • to call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any District Commission within the State, where it appears to the State Commission that such District Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested or has acted in exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.

National Commission

Section 2(29) of the Act defines the expression ‘National Commission’ as the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established under sub-section (1) of section 53.    The Central Government shall constitute the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission that may be situated at New Delhi. It shall perform its functions at such other places as the Central Government may in consultation with the National Commission notify in the Official Gazette.   The Central Government may, by notification, establish regional Benches of the National Commission, at such places, as it deems fit.

Members of the National Commission

The National Commission shall constitute a President and not less than four and more than such number of members as may be prescribed. 

The Central Government may, by notification, make rules to provide for qualifications, appointment, term of office, salaries and allowances, resignation, removal and other terms and conditions of service of the President and members of the National Commission.

The President and members of the National Commission shall hold office for such term as specified in the rules made by the Central Government but not exceeding five years from the date on which he enters upon his office and shall be eligible for re-appointment.

No President or members shall hold office as such after he has attained such age as specified in the rules made by the Central Government which shall not exceed,-

  • in the case of the President, the age of seventy years;
  • in the case of any other member, the age of sixty-seven years.

Neither the salary and allowances nor the other terms and conditions of service of President and members of the National Commission shall be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.

Transition provisions

The President and every other member appointed immediately before the commencement of section 177 of the Finance Act, 2017 shall continue to be governed by the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and the rules made there under as if this Act had not come into force.

Officers and employees

The Central Government shall provide, in consultation with the President of the National Commission, such number of officers and other employees to assist the National Commission in the discharge of its functions as it may think fit.  The officers and other employees of the National Commission shall discharge their functions under the general superintendence of the President of the National Commission.  The salaries and allowances payable to, and the other terms and conditions of service of, the officers and other employees of the National Commission shall be such as may be prescribed.

Jurisdiction

The National Commission shall have jurisdiction-

  • to entertain-
  • complaints where the value of goods or service paid as consideration exceeds rupees ten crores; where the Central Government deems it necessary so to do it may prescribe at such other value, as it deems fit;
  • complaints against unfair contracts, where the value of goods or services paid as consideration exceeds rupees ten crores;
  • appeals against the orders of State Commission;
  • appeal against the orders of the Central Authority; and
  • to call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any State Commission where it appears to the National Commission that such State Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.

 

By: Mr. M. GOVINDARAJAN - October 21, 2020

 

 

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