“You Don’t Want Citizens To Get Redressal”: Supreme Court Raps States

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All vacancies in the state consumer dispute redressal panels should be filled up within eight weeks, the Supreme Court told the states today as it slammed the authorities for delaying the process.
The top court also made some tough remarks on the vacancies in the national consumer tribunal. “Don’t dash the hopes of people,” the central government was told.

“You raise (their) hopes that they will get (the) redressal but then you don’t fulfil those. If you are asking (the) states to fill up vacancies then you also need to do that. You need to have requisite number of people to deal with the cases,” the top court told the central government.

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 said.

The state government in Bihar was told, “Some ‘mahurat’ (auspicious moment)’ has to be set for you to take steps to fill up the vacancies?”

Selection committees have to be set up by the states within four weeks, and all existing and potential vacancies have to be advertised within two weeks. “If states don’t notify rules within two weeks, model rule by centre will automatically apply,” the court has said.

The court had taken suo motu cognizance of pending vacancies in district and state redressal commissions across India. A two-judge bench of Justices SK Kaul and Hemant Gupta had called the situation “surprising”.

The court had directed the central government to file a status report about the vacancies and infrastructure of these tribunals.

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