Shimla: In response to a petition about non-functioning of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday ruled that with their being two members currently available, under the Consumer Protection Act 1986 they constitute a bench towards its normal functioning.
The State Consumer Forum has been without a president since October, 2010 when the last president retired and the Redressal Commission became near defunct with the retirement of a another member in January, 2011.
With Advocate General RK Bawa letting the division bench consisting of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Karol know that Prem Chauhan had been recently joined as a women member on the commission, the judges dropped a petition ruling that the two members do constitute a bench under provisions of the Act. The advocate general also assured the court about the commissionâ€™s functioning.
The division of the High Court also clarified that in respect of all matters, except where the matter is to be finally adjudicated or disposed of, individual member will also constitute as a bench for the purposes of hearing cases under the Act.
Petitioner Jagdish Thakur through his counsel Rajneesh Maniktala let the court know that the commission was without a president since October 2010.
Retirement of a another member in January, 2011 had led to a pile of many consumer complaints pending before the commission which had been practically rendered defunct as the three member commission was unable to function with two vacancies, the petitioner had averred.
The petitioner urged the court to direct the state to take immediate steps for the appointment of President of the Commission.
The President of the Commission has to be a retired judge of the High Court and is appointed by the government in consultation with the chief justice of the High Court.