NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION

MINUTES OF CONFERENCE

MINUTES Of CONFERENCE of Hon’ble Ministers alongwith the Secretaries, Consumer Affairs Of States / UTs And Presidents of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission On 14th &15th March, 2013

     The Act mandates establishment of Consumer Protection Councils at the Centre as well as in each State and District, with a view to promoting consumer awareness.

1.  The Conference was inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. Justice T.S. Thakur, Judge, Supreme Court of India on 14.03.2013.
2.  Hon’ble Shri Justice Ashok Bhan, President of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Prof. K.V. Thomas, Hon’ble Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Shri Afzal Amanullah, Special Secretary, Shri Manoj Parida, Joint Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs and other functionaries from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the Registrar, Joint Registrar and other officers and employees of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Presidents of the State Commissions, Registrars of the State Commissions were present on the occasion. 
3.  Copies of the speeches of the Hon’ble Mr. Justrice T.S. Thakur, Judge, Supreme Court of India, Hon’ble Minister of State, Hon’ble President are at Annexure- ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ respectively.
4.  Shri Pankaj Aggarwal, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution vide his letter dt.14.02.2013 had requested all the State Governments to nominate the Secretary Incharge of Consumer Affair in each State Government to participate in the Conference to interact with the State Commissions and to help solving their matters and taking decision on issues, pending disposal for a long time.  Much to our dismay, except for the Secretary Incharge Consumer Affairs from the States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Daman & Diu, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala, no one appeared from the remaining States.
5.  Business session commenced on 15th March 2013.  in the first instance the President of the State Commission, Haryana presented a Memento to the Hon’ble President, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. 
6.  Thereafter, the book written by Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.N. Aggarwal, titled ‘Supreme Court on Consumer Protection Act’ was released by the Hon’ble President Shri Justice Ashok Bhan.
7.  The items on the Agenda were taken up for deliberation.  Resolutions passed after the deliberations are indicated against each item.


Item No.

ITEMS

RESOLUTION

1

&

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow-up action on the resolutions adopted in the last conference held on 15th March 2012 and in the meeting held on 28th March 2012.

(i) Finalization of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Procedure & Practice Regulation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(ii) Training of State Commission/District Forum Members at Judicial Academy of the respective States.

 

(iii) Furnishing English translation of orders and documents in local languages

(iv) Pay and perquisites of Members of State Commissions and District Forums

 

 

(v) Declaring the President of State Commission as “Head of Department” and president of District Forum as “Head of Office”.

 

 

(vi) Provision of Staff for the State Commissions and District Forums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(vii) Building and other infrastructure for State Commissions and District Forums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(viii) Disposal of cases by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission/State Commission/District Forum.

(ix) Computerization and maintenance of computer and software & hardware.

 

 

 

 

(a)  It was decided to reconstitute the committee and the Committee shall now comprise of;

-     Hon’ble Shri Justice Ajit Bharihoke (Member,
     NationalConsumer Disputes Redressal Commission),

-     Hon’ble Shri Justice Gurdev Singh (President,
      Punjab State Commission),

-     Hon’ble Shri Justice Barkat Ali (President, Kerala
      State Commission),

-     Hon’bleShri Justice Yadav (President, U.P. State
      Commission)

-     Hon’ble Dr.B.C.Gupta, (Member, National Consumer
      Disputes Redressal Commission).

The draft regulations already finalized by the previous Committee would be forwarded to the Members of the newly constituted Committee.  The Committee would deliberate whether the draft regulations are in order.  The Committee may meet and finalize the practice Regulation as expeditiously as possible since these regulations are proposed to be notified on or before 30.09.2013. 


(b)  The resolution as adopted on the last occasion in 2012 to impart the training to the newly appointed Non-Judicial Members was reiterated.  The Government of India Officers were requested to take steps as per the decision taken in the meeting of the Presidents and the Ministers on 28.03.2012.

(c)  The Government of India was again requested to bring about an amendment making it mandatory to furnish English translation of orders or documents in vernacular language.

(d)  The decision taken by the Commission in the last occasion was reiterated and it was once again impressed upon the Government of India to ensure that the Members in the State Commissions and the District Forums be of the level of Joint Secretary to the Government of India and Director respectively and till this done pay & perquisites as is followed either in the State of A.P./Kerala or in Haryana may be followed in remaining 32 States/UTs. 

(e)  It was resolved that the State Governments where the suggestions as approved during the last Conference in 2012 regarding declaring the President of the State Commission as Head Of Department and President of District Forum as Head Of Office has not taken or notified, may be requested to do the needful forthwith.  As per the records available in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, statement indicating the position regarding ‘Head of the Department’ and ‘Head of the Office’ is as at Annexure ‘D’.

(f)  In the Conference-2012, it was resolved that the staffing pattern suggested in the Report of the Committee headed by Shri.S.P.Bagla, Former Member, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission should be adopted by all States.  The States should also, in consultation with the Presidents of the State Commissions, frame the Recruitment Rules for various categories of staff so that the staff appointed become employees of the respective State Commission/District Forum and eventually constitute appropriate cadres to facilitate lateral transfers as well as promotions.  It was also resolved that the Hon’ble President, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission would take up this matter at the Conference of State Ministers to be convened soon by the Hon’ble Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Consumer Affairs.

Proposal was reiterated.

(g)  During the last Conference, it was decided after reviewing the availability of accommodation for the State Commission and District Forum that the Government of India would provide assistance for the purpose of owning the building and other infrastructure.  A proposal was also sent for examination.  The Joint Secretary Mr.Manoj Parida present during the Conference on 15.03.2013 informed that fresh guidelines have been issued delegating this authority to the State Government.  The State Commissions may be advised to take up the matter with the respective State Government giving full justification and financial implication under intimation to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.  National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in turn would write to such State Government to take decision on such proposal as per their guidelines expeditiously.

(h)  Noting that the number of the cases are in few States are on the rise, the Joint Secretary Mr. Parida was impressed upon to take steps for creating more Benches to wipeout the arrears.

(i)  As regards computerization and maintenance of computer software and hardware, the Technical Director (NIC) Ms. Ranjana Nagpal assured that the necessary steps regarding purchase of computers would be complete in four months.  TSP would also be made available as per the decision taken during last conference.

3.

Power of contempt under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The proposal was unanimously approved.  The Joint Secretary Mr.Parida assured that they would take necessary steps in the matter as per the draft indicated in the Agenda.

4.

Creation of Monitoring Cell or Method to be devised for monitoring the working of the Consumer Fora.

It was decided in principle to have a Monitoring Cell.  However, for the purpose of formation of such Monitoring Cell, the Joint Secretary Mr. Parida was requested to send a complete and concrete proposal for the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to examine.

5.

Financial Position of State Commission/ District Foras.

It was agreed in principle that State Commission and District Forum may be augmented with the separate budgetary provision/fund.  It would have help State Commission/District Fora to enjoy more autonomy and secondly pace of work would be accelerated. 

6.

Organized Cadre.

 

 

The proposal was agreed in principle.  However, the Joint Secretary was of the view that for such Skeleton Staff as is available in the State Commission it is difficult to have an independent organized cadre.  At this stage Hon’ble Shri Justice Ajit Bharihoke (Member, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) suggested that to begin with we may organize the cadre at the State level bringing within their fold the District Fora attached to them.  This in that event would no longer be skeletal.  It is accordingly decided that a prescribed sanctioned strength for each State Commission or District Fora depending upon the pendency of the cases is identified and thereafter for making appointments or recruitment a Selection Committee is constituted and the Selection Committee so constituted shall have a representative of the National Commission duly authorized by the Hon’ble President.  This is proposed with a view to attain the optimum level of competence and to maintain uniformity.  Similarly a representative of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission be inducted for the purpose when such a exercise is undertaken at the level of District Forum.

7.

Service condition of the Members of the State Commission or District Fora.

The decision taken in the last Conference is once again reiterated.  The Joint Secretary Mr. Parida assured that he would soon take up the matter appropriately with State/UT Governments.

8.

Power of review/recall by the State Commission/District Forum.

The proposal was approved and the Hon’ble President was authorized to send a detailed proposal in this behalf to the Government of India for further steps in the matter, keeping in view the amendments proposed to in Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

9.

Creation of 105 posts in the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

It was once again impressed upon the Government of India to take suitable and immediate steps for creation of 105 posts in terms of the justification contained in the Commission’s letter dt.30th May 2012.  The Joint Secretary Mr.Parida assured that he would personally take up the matter with the appropriate authority.

10.

Holding of the Circuit Bench.

The proposal approved.  The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to send a self contained detailed proposal to the Government of India for supplementing Section 22 (c) of the Consumer Protection Act 1986.

11.

Additional power to the Registrar, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

The proposal was approved in principle.  The Registry to send a proposal to the Government of India for supplementing the Consumer Protection Rules 1987.

12.

Disposal done by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, State Commission and District Fora up to 31st January 2013.

It was decided that a software be suitably modified in consultation with the N.I.C. to maintain the information with respect to pending cases category wise and age wise.  Thereafter, State Commission would be requested to maintain such information as per that format and similarly, State Commissions would also address a communication to the District Forums working under them to maintain such information of pending cases as per that approved format.

13.

Disposal of cases by Lok Adalat.

 

Hon’ble B.C. Gupta (Member, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) gave a presentation impressing upon the need and necessity for holding Lok Adalat for disposal of cases atleast where the amount involved is not very high.  It was decided to lay a beginning for the purpose atleast at the District level.

14.

Provision for refund of the statutory fee when the case is disposed of on technical ground (s) of jurisdiction.

The proposal was accepted and the Registry of the National Commission to address a letter in this behalf to the Government of India for taking appropriate steps.


With this, the Business Session came to an end. Shri H.D. Nautiyal, Registrar presented a Vote of Thanks.

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