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‘State irresponsive to need for consumer courts’

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New Start: Chandrashekaraiah, chairman, Karnataka State Consumers’ Disputes Redressal Commission, unveiling a plaque at the function to lay the foundation stone for the new district consumer disputes redressal forum building in Mangalore on Wednesday.
New Start: Chandrashekaraiah, chairman, Karnataka State Consumers’ Disputes Redressal Commission, unveiling a plaque at the function to lay the foundation stone for the new district consumer disputes redressal forum building in Mangalore on Wednesday.

Staff Correspondent

Karnataka stands first in disposal of consumer cases

Nominal court fees has encouraged justice seekers

MANGALORE: The Centre has released Rs. 30 lakh each for construction of buildings for district consumer disputes redressal forum in the State. However, the State Government is yet to allot free sites for the purpose.

Chairman of the Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (KSCDRC) Chandrashekaraiah said here on Wednesday that the State Government’s response to the proposal was lukewarm and had evinced little interest in providing free sites for the new buildings.

Laying the foundation stone for the new building of the Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Mr. Chandrashekaraiah said, “Some district forums are functioning from buildings which have zinc sheets for roofs and the working conditions especially during summer are unbearable. Proper infrastructure will only aid speedy disposal of cases and help all concerned, he said.

Not sufficient

Observing that the sum allocated was not sufficient for construction of the buildings, he said, “The State commission in some cases has successfully approached legislators who have agreed to fund the remaining costs through their respective area development funds.” Stating that Union Minister Oscar Fernandes had promised him that the incremental costs would be met, he advised the president of the forum to follow the issue up with him later.

Karnataka stood first in terms of disposal of cases. This fact was appreciated at a two-day conference organised by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at New Delhi earlier in the month. A nominal court fee charged by the consumer judiciary had encouraged people to seek justice. Parties involved were also going in for out-of-court settlements owing to greater awareness on consumer issues, Mr. Chandrashekaraiah added.

The Centre was keen to open consumer clubs in various educational institutions in order to provide information on consumer rights to students. However, they had provided a mere Rs. 10,000 for the process, he said and added that the State commission had impressed upon the Government and the national commission for an enhancement in grants. We can organise meaningful programmes if activities are funded properly, he said. The extent of backlog of cases in the district consumer disputes redressal forums and the State commission was manageable. In all, 4,816 complaints were pending before 30 district forums at the end of February. As many as 195 complaints remained to be solved in Dakshina Kannada district. “The State commission has to clear a backlog of only 31 cases. People approach the consumer judiciary as these issues must be resolved within 90 to 150 days,” he said.

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