Section 9 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides for the establishment of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, by notification in the Official Gazette. The office of the National Commission shall be located in the Union Territory of Delhi.
Composition of the National Commission –
Section 20 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 states 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, who shall be its President. Such appointment shall be made only after consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
(b) not less than four, and not more than such number of members, as may be prescribed, and 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; and
(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.
It is provided that not more than fifty percent of the members shall be persons from 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 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 disqualifications as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
Selection Committee –
Every appointment of the National Commission shall be made by the Central Government on the recommendation of a Selection Committee consisting of the following members –
(a) A person who is a Judge of the Supreme Court, to be nominated by the Chief Justice of India – Chairman
(b) The Secretary in the Department of Legal Affairs in the Government of India – Member
(c) Secretary of the Department dealing with consumer affairs in the Government of India – Member
Every member of the National Commission shall hold office for a period of five years or upto the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. A member shall be eligible for reappointment for another term of five years or upto the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. Such reappointment shall be made on the basis of the recommendations of the Selection Committee.
The official seal and emblem of the National Commission shall be such as the Central Government may specify. The Central Government shall appoint such staff as may be necessary to assist the National Commission in its day to day work and to perform such other functions as are provided under the Act.
Jurisdiction of the National Commission –
Section 21 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides that the National Commission shall have jurisdiction—
(a) to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds rupees one crore; and
(ii) to entertain appeals against the orders of any State Commission; and
(b) to call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any 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.
Further, the National Commission shall entertain appeals against the orders of the State Commission only when a person, who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order of the State Commission, has deposited in the prescribed manner fifty percent of the amount or rupees thirty-five thousand, whichever is less.
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