The termites are eating into the case files piled up at the consumer courts due to inadequate storage facility, a Supreme Court-appointed panel has submitted before the top court.
Set-up under the Consumer Protection Act, these courts were to protect the rights of the consumers and provide them quick access to justice against any unethical practice by traders. However, a look at the panel’s report reflects the pathetic conditions under which they function.
The committee comprising former SC judge Justice Arijit Passayat and retired Delhi high court judge Justice Rekha Sharma said that in most of the states files are kept in the open and are either being destroyed by termites or are getting lost.
The central government-sponsored campaign “Jago Grahak Jago” had a very limited impact on the consumer, it said. There is lack of consumer awareness in tribal and semi-urban areas where there is reluctance among people to approach courts for redressal in case of a dispute. The committee said politicians and bureaucrats have filled non-judicial member posts in the forums with their people.
This is the second report the panel has given after visiting district consumer courts and state commissions of 13 states. The first, submitted in May, highlighted how, in many cases, the members did not have internet access and meagre salary for them made the job unattractive for talented and experienced people.
The panel’s latest revelations are no different. They reveal how women members of consumer courts do not have separate office rooms or toilets. In some district forums, the committee found members held proceedings for just two to three hours and that too not daily.