District Consumer Forum
Redressal Machinery under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides a forum for speedy and simple redressal of consumer disputes. The Act provides for three-tier quasi-judicial redressal machinery for redressal of consumer disputes and grievances –
- District Consumer Forum,
- State Consumer Forum and
- National Consumer Forum.
The District Consumer Forum has jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of goods/services complained against and the compensation, if any, claimed, does not exceed Rs. 20 lakhs.
The State Commission can entertain complaints where the claims exceed Rs 20 lakhs but not exceeding Rs. 1 crore.
The National Commission can entertain claims exceeding Rs. 1 crore .
District Consumer Forum –
Section 9 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides for the establishment of a District Forum by the State Government in each district of the State. The State Government has the power to establish more than one District Forum in a district if it deems fit to do so.
Each District Consumer Forum shall consist of –
(a) a person who is, or who has been, or is qualified to be, a District Judge, who shall be its President;
(b) two other members 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 a person shall be disqualified for appointment as a member if he –
(a) has been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for an offence, which, in the opinion of the State 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 State 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 qualifications as may be prescribed by the State Government.
Each member of the District Consumer Forum shall hold office for a term of 5 years or upto the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. Such member shall be eligible for reappointment for another term of five years or upto the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, subject to the condition that he fulfills the qualifications and other conditions for appointment. Such appointment shall be made on the basis of the recommendation of the Selection Committee. A member may resign from his office through a letter in writing under his hand addressed to the State Government.
Jurisdiction of the District Forum
Section 11 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides for the jurisdiction of the District Consumer Forum under two criteria – pecuniary and territorial.
Pecuniary limits –
Section 11(1) empowers the District Consumer Forum to entertain complaints where the value of goods or services and the compensation, if any, claimed does not exceed rupees twenty five lakhs.
Territorial Limits –
Sec 11(2) requires a complaint to be instituted in the District Consumer Forum within the local limits of whose jurisdiction –
(a) the opposite party or each of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business, or has a branch office or personally works for gain; or
(b) any of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business or has a branch office, or personally works for gain, provided that in such case either the permission of the District Forum is given, or the opposite parties who do not reside, or carry on business or have a branch office, or personally work for gain, as the case may be, acquiesce in such institution; or
(c) the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises.
The District Consumer Forum can, therefore, entertain complaints either within the pecuniary limits or territorial limits.
District Consumer Forum
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