How do consumer courts in India work?

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How do consumer courts in India work?

Due to illegal trading, black marketing, hoarding and rocketing prices in India, people became agitated which led to a widespread movement for consumer rights during the 1980s. This led to introduction of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, recently amended in 2002

Consumer Protection Act 1986

As per the Act, if a consumer, aggrieved  with the product he/she bought or services he/she was rendered; or if a consumer feels that his/ her consumer rights are being exploited; or in the case of black marketing or such related issues; denying the right to consumer education or right to choose; a customer can approach a consumer redressal forum. 

The consumer can approach the forum by himself/herself even without the help of a legal counsel by paying a nominal fee.

Types of Consumer Forums

  1. District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum
  2. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
  3. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

Jurisdiction

The consumer can approach in the respective District Forum where:-

  • -   The opposite party or either of the opposing parties voluntarily resides or carries business or has a branch office;
  • -   The actual cause of action took place.

Pecuniary Jurisdiction

  1. The consumer can approach the District Court only if the value of the case lies within 20 lakhs rupees.
  2. The consumer should approach the State commission if the value exceeds 20 lakhs rupees but lies within one crore rupees.
  3. The consumer should approach the National Commission if the value exceeds one crore rupees

Appeal

The consumer has the right to appeal against the verdict of District Forum to the State Commission.

Recently, a new bill was introduced in the parliament in the year 2015 called Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 and if passed by the legislature will replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

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