Tamil Nadu district consumer forums may find new Act more challenging
Even as the new Consumer Protection Act 2019, which has already been enacted by the Parliament and is likely to be notified anytime soon, demands more attention on part of District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums, the ones in Tamil Nadu are already struggling to meet the present requirements.
Even in Chennai, where there are two forums, North and South, even uploading disposed of cases on the official website is taking months allegedly due to inadequate manpower. This is happening even as the new Act would increase the pressure on staff as it has many provisions like disposing of the case in three months, recording the reasons for adjournments, etc. The forum may give adjournments with costs and if the case hasn’t been disposed of in stipulated time, the reason should be recorded in written format.
“The forum is already running with inadequate manpower in many districts, including Chennai. The new Act, which benefits the consumer, would not be effective if the government does not improve the infrastructure and manpower. Already, the forum takes a month to post the judgment on its website due to shortage of workers,” official sources said. Speaking to DT Next, a former Consumer Forum member, who preferred to be anonymous, denied any shortage of workers and said the judgments are uploaded as soon as possible. When it was pointed out that cases disposed of in January were uploaded in February, the member said it may be an isolated incident and presently the orders are getting delayed due to virus threat.
Regarding the new Act, the former member said that most of the regulations are similar to the Consumer Protection Act 1986. “We have one stenographer in the forum, who has to type the order and hand it over to the forum president and member for corrections which eventually gets uploaded on our official website. If there are more staff, things could be done much faster,” he added.