The Supreme Court in the last week of January 2018 granted four more weeks to the Centre to file comprehensive model rules to deal with various aspects of the functioning of consumer fora across the country.
The top court, in its verdict on 21 November 2016, had taken serious note of infrastructural inadequacy and other problems faced by consumer courts across the country and passed a slew of directions for a ‘systemic overhaul’ so that the Consumer Protection Act did not become a ‘dead letter’.
Referring to a report submitted by a top court-appointed committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Arijit Pasayat on the state of consumer courts, it had then asked the Centre to frame in four months the model rules for adoption by the state governments and submit these before it for approval.
The court, in its judgement, had said that the ‘poor state’ of the consumer courts was mainly due to gross inadequate infrastructure, poor organisational set-up, absence of adequate and trained manpower, and lack of qualified members in the adjudicating bodies. “With the proliferation of goods and services in a rapidly growing economy, Parliament envisaged the enactment to be the cornerstone of a vibrant consumer movement. Reality has been distant from the aspirations of the law,” it had said.