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Consumer Courts Can Impose Cost on Parties on Adjournments: Govt

To ensure speedy redressal of consumer complaints, the department of consumer affairs on Friday asked registrars and presidents of national, state, and district commissions not to grant adjournment for more than one month to ensure adhering to the timelines provided under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

In case of any delay in resolving the complaints beyond two months, due to adjournment requests, the commission may consider imposing costs on parties, it said.

In his letter, consumer affairs secretary, Rohit Kumar Singh emphasised on inexpensive, hassle-free and speedy justice to the consumers.

“Frequent and long adjournments not only denies a consumer his right to be heard and seek redressal, but also takes away the spirit of enactment which the legislature intended. Therefore, Consumer Commissions are requested to ensure that in no circumstance adjournment for a long period is provided. Further, in case of more than two requests of adjournment by either parties, Consumer Commissions may, as a measure of deterrence, impose costs on parties,” he wrote.

Drawing attention of the consumer commissions on the procedure on admission of a complaint as provided under Section 38(7) of the Act, he said that every complaint is required to be disposed of as expeditiously as possible and endeavour shall be made to decide the complaint within a period of three months from the date of receipt of notice by opposite party where the complaint does not require analysis or testing of commodities, and within five months if it requires analysis or testing of commodities.

Further, it said that the Act also stipulates that no adjournment shall ordinarily be granted by consumer commissions, unless sufficient cause is shown and the reasons for grant of adjournment have been recorded in writing.

The commissions are also empowered to make such orders as to the costs occasioned by the adjournment.

The department has also written to the chief secretaries of all states/UTs and all consumer commissions laying stress on encouraging consumers to file their complaints through the e-daakhil portal.

Source: IANS