The State Government on Wednesday submitted to the Karnataka High Court that consumer forums had been given magisterial powers and that they could initiate prosecution proceedings against companies, traders and others against whom complaints were lodged.

The Government made this submission when the court was hearing a petition by a private chit fund company challenging the action of the consumer forum in issuing a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against one of its office-bearers and also initiating prosecution.

The company said forums did not have the power or the jurisdiction to issue NBWs. Moreover, the forums did not have power to initiate prosecution.

Government advocate Devadas said that Section 27 of the Consumer Act had been amended. He said consumer forums had the jurisdiction to issue NBWs and also initiate prosecution against companies, traders and individuals against whom complaints were lodged.

He said Section 27 (A) of the Consumer Act also conferred magisterial powers on them.

In this case, the company had failed to repay depositors and they had moved the consumer forum. After the consumer forum proceeded against the company, it had moved the court seeking a stay.

Justice B.S. Patil dismissed the petition.