Jammu: About 6000 consumer cases are pending in Jammu and Kashmir for resolution of, since closing of J&K State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission about couple of years back.
The State Commission was constituted under J&K Consumer Protection Act 1987 at Jammu. However after the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019 came such courts ceased to exist. The commissions’ chairpersons and staff were transferred to different departments of the administration.
The commissions were repealed in accordance with the J&K Reorganisation Act 2019, which bifurcates the state into two union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
As per sources, though the Consumer Protection Act was passed by the Parliament in the year 2019 but its vital provision including Establishment of District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions remains unimplemented due to poor response for the posts of Presidents for such Commissions.
The Consumer Protection Act was passed by the Parliament in the year 1986 but in the year 2019 a new and stringent law was enacted for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers’ disputes.
This law became applicable to Jammu and Kashmir following reorganization of the then State with effect from October 30, 2019 and with the repealing of Jammu and Kashmir Consumer Protection Act, 1987.
Now it learnt that about 4000-6000 cases are pending in the Commission, which has left the clients in the lurch. ‘
Though the Act became applicable about couple of years back yet the process for appointment of Presidents and Members of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions was initiated only on April this year when the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs invited applications from eligible candidates.
The Consumers/applicants across the union territory eagerly awaiting for the disbursal of their cases and their resolutions remain deprived of a proper forum for redressal of their grievances.
Even after a lapse of two years, the State Consumer Redressal Dispute Commission with offices in both Jammu and Srinagar have not been restored by the concerned authorities including, the government, general administration department(GAD) and Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs.
Section 28 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 states: “Every State and Union Territory shall, by notification, establish a District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, to be known as the District Commission, in each district and each District Commission shall consist of a President and not less than two members”.
Even the District Forums in every district of Jammu and Kashmir wound up since October 31, 2019 have not been resorted even after a gap of almost two years.
In one such case pending for rederssal for the last three years, a division bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court led by then Chief Justice Gita Mittal and justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur has awarded Rs 20,000 to paid to the respondents in two weeks times in September 2018 as damages.
The case pertains to a student of Presentation Convent Senior Secondary School, Gandhi Nagar, Jammu who was denied Science Stream by the School. The Student was compelled to purse her further education as a private candidate. She was forced to change from Central Board of School Education to Jammu and Kashmir State Board of Secondary Education which was materially different and worked difficulty upon her. She then opted for the Science Stream as a private. The student passed the exam with flying colors and secured over 75% marks.
Now despite the lapse of three the aggrieved student has not received Rs 20,000 as damages ordered by the High Court in absence of such Commissions.