National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
By: Robin Pandey Date: 09/03/2022
Section 9 empowers the Central Government to establish the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, by notification in the Official Gazette Section 20(1) provides that the National Commission shall consist of-
(a) a person who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court, to be appointed by the Central Government (in consultation with the Chief Justice of India), who shall be its President;
(b) not less than four and not more than such number of members as may be prescribed, one of whom shall be a woman, who shall have the following qualifications, namely:
(i) be not less than thirty-five years of age;
(ii) possess a bachelor's degree from a recognized university;
(iii) be persons of ability, integrity and standing and have adequate knowledge and experience of at least ten years in dealing with problems relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration:
Provided that not more than fifty per cent of the members shall be from amongst the persons having judicial background. "Persons having judicial background" shall mean persons having knowledge and experience for at least a period of ten years as a presiding officer at the district level court or any tribunal at equivalent level
A person shall be disqualified for appointment if he-
(a) has been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for an offence which, in the opinion of the Central Government involves moral turpitude; or
(b) is an undischarged insolvent; or
(c) is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court; or
(d) has been removed or dismissed from the service of the government or a body corporate owned or controlled by the Government; or
(e) has in the opinion of the Central Government such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially the discharge by him of his functions as a member; or
(f) has such other disqualification as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
Jurisdiction of National Commission
Section 21 provides that the National Commission shall have jurisdiction:
(a) to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and the compensation, if any, claimed exceeds rupees one crore;
(b) to entertain appeals against the orders of any State Commission. However, under second proviso to section 19 no appeal by a person, who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order of the State Commission, shall be entertained by the National Commission unless the appellant has deposited in the prescribed manner fifty percent of the amount or rupees thirty-five thousands, whichever is less; and
(c) to call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before, or has been decided by the State Commission where it appears to the National Commission that such State Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.
Complaints before the District Forum and State Commission
Section 12 provides that a complaint, in relation to any goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or any service provided or agreed to be provided may be filed with the District Forum by-
(a) the consumer to whom such goods are sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or such service provided or agreed to be provided;
(b) any recognised consumer association, whether the consumer to whom the goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or service provided or agreed to be provided, is a member of such association or not; or
(c) one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the same interest with the permission of the District Forum, on behalf of, or for the benefit of, all consumers so interested; or
(d) the Central or the State Government as the case may be, either) in its individual capacity or as a representative of interests of the consumers in general.
Every complaint filed under this section is required to be accompanied with such amount of fee and payable in such manner as may be prescribed. On receipt of a complaint, the District Forum may, by order, allow the complaint to be proceeded with or rejected. However, a complaint shall not be rejected unless an opportunity of being heard has been given to the complainant. It is also to be noted that the admissibility of the complaint shall ordinarily be decided within twenty-one days from the date on which the complaint was received. Where a complaint is allowed to be proceeded, the District Forum may proceed with the complaint in the manner provided under this Act. Where a complaint has been admitted by the District Forum, it shall not be transferred to any other court or tribunal or any authority set up by or under any other law for the time being in force.
The explanation defines the term 'recognised consumer association' as to mean any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act, 1956 or any other law for the time being in force.