The A.P. State C Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has been without a chief for a year

The ongoing political battle to bifurcate the State seems to have hit yet another government institution. The Andhra Pradesh State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (APSCDRC), the apex body for all consumer appeals and complaints in the State, has been running without a full-time chairman from the last one year, as no one was appointed after the previous head retired last December.

After retirement of the previous chairman D. Appa Rao, a former High Court judge, one of the jury members on the three-member Bench R. Laxminarsimha Rao was appointed as the in-charge chairman of the APSCDRC. Filling such a post usually takes two or three months, as the head is jointly appointed by the High Court and State government, said officials.

“The delay is mostly due to the Telangana issue, as those in charge of overseeing the process are busy with other matters,” remarked an official of the Commission, pleading not to be quoted.

“Although we do not have a chairman, things are running smoothly. Cases are heard regularly everyday. But we can’t say when the next head will be anointed as it is not in our hands,” said Mr. Rao, the officiating head.

Vacant posts

Officials from the APSCDRC also informed that the post of a jury member has also been vacant for some months. “A separate Bench comprising two members was set up to clear pending cases and appeals. A woman member who was on the Bench retired, so right now there is just the three-member jury and there are two vacancies,” said an official, claiming that the pace of clearing old cases was not affected.

As per the rules, a retired High Court judge can be the chairman of the APSCRDC for a tenure of five years, or until he or she attains 65 years of age. Members must be at least 35 years old, and must be graduates in any stream.

“Mostly, practising lawyers with many years of experience are preferred over others, so that it is easier to deal with cases since they have better knowledge of consumer laws,” stated the official.

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