Supreme Court’s Warning On Fines For States On Consumer Redressal Panels

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The Supreme Court today delivered a sharp rebuke over the delay in the filing of the status reports by the states on vacancies and infrastructure issues in the consumer dispute panels.

Today’s reproach came three months after the court gave an eight-week deadline to fill all the vacancies in the consumer dispute panels.

Warning the state governments about the imposition of fines, the court said: “By (the) next time also, if you don’t file the status reports, we will impose Rs 2 lakh cost on all of you. All the imposed costs will be recovered from the officers concerned.”

“Unless states are very keen to get notices of contempt, they should comply with the deadlines,” the court further said in a series of sharp remarks.

Gujarat, Goa, Delhi, Rajasthan, Kerala, Punjab have not filed a response about the staff and Bihar has not submitted its response on infrastructure-related issues, the court was told today.

Last month, the court had rapped the centre too and said: “If the government does not want the tribunals then abolish the Act! Citizens are suffering.These are places of remedy like consumer forums and daily life is affected.”

“We are stretching our jurisdiction to see the vacancies are filled in. Normally we should not spend time on this and the posts should be filled. Unfortunately, the judiciary is called upon to see that these posts are manned. This is not a very happy situation,” the court said.

In August, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Jharkhand were among the states that were slammed over the lackadaisical approach. “The way states are acting is unacceptable. You do not want citizens to get redressal,” the court had said at the time.

The Supreme Court will take up the matter again next month.

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