No cases being heard at GB Nagar consumer forum
The Gautam Budh Nagar district consumer disputes redressal forum has not been hearing any cases for two months now, ever since the forum president’s term expired on March 31.
The Uttar Pradesh government had earlier issued directions stating that the district consumer disputes redressal forum should function with reduced staff during Lockdown 4.0.
“Around 10 cases are being listed every day. The cause list has been prepared. These were to be taken up in two shifts. Five cases in the morning and five in afternoon. As per guidelines, only 33 percent staff is allowed to work . The staff duties were assigned accordingly. However, as the forum president’s post is vacant and we cannot conduct any hearings. In all the listed cases, only the next dates are being issued,” said Nirmala Singh, a forum member.
Jagdeep Singh, an advocate with the forum said, “The forum president of Kannauj has been given additional charge of GB Nagar . But, he has only drawing and disbursing powers. This was done so that there is no problem in withdrawal of salaries for staff of the forum. He has no presiding powers and he cannot hear cases in GB Nagar. We have demanded that either he be given presiding power or another forum president be appointed so that hearing of cases starts.”
The Gautam Budh Nagar district consumer forum advocates association has suggested that video conferencing hearing in consumer court cases should start on the lines of Uttar Pradesh Real Estate Regulatory Authority(UPRERA). “Video conferencing will help complainants, advocates and forum president and members. When it can be done successfully in UPRERA, we feel it can be successful in consumer forum cases too,” said Rajinder Dhar, association representative, on Wednesday.
“Further we feel that, just like RERA, single benches single member benches should hear and decide on complaints at consumer courts too. Presently, at least two members — one president and one member —are required to issue an order. Single member bench will solve the shortage of consumer forum members and chairman. More cases will be resolved, as instead of one forum bench, three single member benches will function. All this needs is an amendment to the consumer protection act,” said Dhar.
Several complainants too felt video conferencing can solve a lot of problems and will be beneficial. “I have not hired an advocate and am pursuing my case myself. Video conference hearing will save time and money for me,” said Satish Sharma, one of the complainants.
Mahinder Pal Singh, president Kannauj district forum, who has been given drawing and disbursal powers of Gautam Budh Nagar consumer forum, said on Wednesday, “There is shortage of members and presidents. Several consumer forum posts in the state are lying vacant. I have been looking after Kannauj, Ghaziabad and Baghpat. As there is no member, I cannot issue orders in complaints.”
“Even if I start hearing cases through video conferencing orders cannot be passed as quorum of at least two members is needed. Where we have quorum, video conferencing can be done,” said Singh.