The consumer forum can be identified as one quasi-judicial authority that stands to give voice to the sufferings of an aggrieved consumer. Consumer Forum Bangalore does the same for the residents of Bangalore in the most correct form. The forum has also been identified as the second most efficient district body in India in terms of claim settlement. The mechanisation is very simple and the costs incurred are so minimal that one may not dare believe this. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission ‘NCDRC’ empowers this district entity to make judgments on cases pertaining to maximum compensation of Rs 20 Lakhs. The fees on cases under bracket of Rs 1 Lakhs is only Rs 100/- and the same for cases under highest bracket of Rs 20 Lakhs is just Rs 500/-. This is strikingly in contrast to what we perceive at the civil court where the fees of advocates is enough to bring down the fighting spirit of the aggrieved consumer. Also, the Consumer Protection Act 1986 makes it mandatory for the consumer court to settle the case within two months of filing the case. The order is issued invariably within 15 days of the final hearing. The civil court on the other hand make sure that only the hire of the complainant receives the compensation because the later has already departed from the world; or rather taken leave from this mess.
On the mechanism part, the aggrieved consumer is only required to place a written application at the forum. The attending clerk would register the complaint and issue a date for admission hearing. On the given date, the sitting bench will decide upon the qualification of the complaint for any further hearing. For an eligible case, the opposite part would be sent a notice on the complaint seeking explanation on the same and informing the next date of hearing. The two parties are then allowed an equal chance to produce their explanation on the complaint or cross examine each other. On the date of final hearing the consumer court will issue an order as binding on the guilty. The Consumer Forum Bangalore can ask the manufacturer or the producer to:-
1. Compensate for the injuries sustained by the consumer
2. Compensate for the financial losses sustained by the consumer
3. Replace the defected product
4. Repair the defection with the product
5. Call back the existing stocks in the market
6. Amend the marketing communication to prevent any further misinformation
What makes the course to justice effective is its simplicity and credibility. An aggrieved consumer is allowed a chance to raise his voice against a more capable and aggressive party. The establishment of this quasi-judicial body allows an average consumer to nurture intolerance towards cheating, fraud, exploitation, injustice and misrepresentation. However this also makes him liable to encourage others to also take notice of their consumer rights and courageously report any incidence on consumer rights violation. Consumer Forums do seem to be making a positive difference to the society.
By HypnoArt from Pixabay