The Consumer Protection Act 1986 was passed by the Parliament of India with an intention to voice the grievances or concerns of an average consumer. Prior to CPA the Law on Contract was the guiding force to the buyer-seller composition but for its intricacies it could do no good for the aggrieved consumers. The Consumer Courts were therefore set up to make sure that CPA does meet its objectives. Consumer Court Delhi helps establish a quasi-judiciary machinery to bring justice to the residents of New Delhi. The court covers commercial disagreements on both tangible and intangible goods.
A complainant can file a complaint at the Consumer Court Delhi to seek compensation for an amount up to Rs 20 Lakhs. As part of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, the court is headed by a president who has either worked or is eligible for being a District Judge. The court also makes provisions for appointing a District Collector, Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), Member of Parliament (MP) and any senior government official as members on the advisory board. The complaint can be made in written format at the consumer court or via online portal. The court will subsequently inform about the date on admission hearing and a notice will be sent to the opposite party about the complaint. The notice seeks an early reply by the respondent within 30 days of receiving the order. On the due date of admission hearing the complainant and the respondent will be allowed to present their case with all the relevant documents and any evidential support. After a comprehensive hearing the court will pass on the verdict on the final date of hearing and the order copies being sent across to the two parties. Once the court order goes in favour of the complainant, the producer or the manufacturer needs to:-
1. Repair the defection in the product
2. Make compensation for the deficiency in services or the defect in the product
3. Make replacement for the defected product
4. Refund the entire amount
5. Discontinue the deficient services or call back the stocks
6. Place corrective communication by way of advertisements / promotions
The consumer courts are therefore of much help in availing justice to an average consumer under instance of any violation of consumer rights. The complainant needs to only pay a court-fee of just Rs 100/- for a compensation of Rs 100,000/- and a maximum of Rs 500/- for the highest slab on compensation i.e. Rs 20,00,000/-. The consumer court is thus being seen as a major facilitator of a fair judgement that considers the concerns and the grievances of an aggrieved consumer and of the manufacturer too. Once issued, the court order comes as liability on part of the manufacturer / producer to duly comply with the said specifications within 30 days of the origin of order. The consumer court also makes provision for the consumer to challenge the court order in case of any dissatisfaction over compensation or judgement.
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