Staff Reporter

Not many complaints coming before Consumer Forum

Workload in Kerala “not much” for forum

Bar Association wants compensation limit raised

ALAPPUZHA: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) Chairman Justice M.B. Shah said here on Monday that the NCRDC could act on the price rise issue in the country if it received any complaints from consumers.

However, there were no complaints from anyone to the Commission on the issue so far.

Mr. Shah said though the workload for the NCDRC in Kerala was “not much”, the number of benches had to be increased along with the awareness of the public on consumer rights.

As of now, the maximum number of cases were recorded at Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. Most of the cases from Kerala were related to the insurance sector and medical negligence, Justice Shah said, pointing out that complaints against insurance companies were high across the country.

As for medical negligence, the Commission had directed the Medical Council of India to improve the conditions at hospitals and accordingly, the MCI had issued a circular recently asking hospitals to issue discharge summaries to patients within 72 hours of their being discharged from the hospital.

The NCRDC could handle medical negligence cases more effectively if the discharge summaries, giving details about the treatment extended, were available, he said.

Jimmy Korah, president of the Alappuzha District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, the district-level forum of the NCRDC, said the number of cases coming to the Commission and its district-level fora were fewer because of lack of awareness about consumer rights among the public.

While districts such as Thrissur and Kozhikode had around 4,000 pending cases, Wayanad had only 46 cases and Alappuzha, only 267 cases.

As of now, the District Forum could handle only cases dealing with compensation demands of up to Rs. 20 lakh. The Bar Association here has demanded this limit to be raised to Rs. 1 crore, Mr. Korah said.