Most consumer grievances in Chandigarh linked to housing, pendency of cases up
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in Chandigarh got fewer cases but pendency went up last year. Most of the complaints are related to the housing sector.
A total of 1,837 cases were filed in 2018 as against 2,941 in 2017 but the pendency increased from 744 to 762 in one year. The pendency in the two district consumer forums in Chandigarh, however, showed improvement from 1,472 cases in 2017 to 1,188 in 2018.
The forums got fewer cases, too, with 1,790 cases in 2018 as against 2,438 the previous year.
Lowest pendency in railways, airlines cases
The number of cases filed since the commission’s inception and subsequent pendency has been the highest in the housing category, while in the forums insurance-related complaints top the chart.
A total of 7,555 cases were filed in the housing category against a pendency of more than 500 cases before the commission, while the railway category showed the least number of complaints with zero pendency.
A total of 5,506 insurance-related cases were filed since the inception of the district forums of which 5,220 were disposed of till last year, leaving a pendency of 286 cases. The least pendency rate is in the airlines category before the consumer forums.
Defaulters and why
District attorney Manu Kakkar says, “Pendency in the housing category is mostly due to the failure of builders to deliver projects in time. In the insurance sector, the main reason for litigation is hidden rules that the companies don’t disclose at the time of issuing the policy.”
Advocate Pankaj Chankotia says, “Housing complaints come before the state commission as the value is almost always more than Rs 20 lakh. Since filing is high, so is the pendency.”
He says insurance complaints are wide ranging from car insurance to health, life, general insurance and unit linked insurance plans (ULIPs). “Moreover, the first attempt of an insurance company is to deny a claim even if it is done on flimsy grounds,” he says.
“The privatisation of the industry has compounded the problem with increase in selling of products on false promises. This has led to a higher number of complaints. Still many go are not filed. The increasing awareness among people about insurance companies is also a factor,” Chankotia says.
Despite the pendency, the proposal to create a third consumer forum in Chandigarh by the state commission is yet to see the light of day. The commission had written to the Union Territory administration three years ago, but the matter is still pending with the central government, says commission secretary Rakesh Rawat.
The Consumer Protection Bill passed in the Lok Sabha recently may have widened the ambit of the law and brought in transparency but it remains to be seen if it will expedite the redressal of grievances of consumers.