HC seeks report on alternative to erstwhile Commissions

CS J&K, Ladakh to submit report

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Nov 16: With the winding up of various commissions after implementation of J&K Re-Organization Act 2019, the High Court directed the Government to inform it about the steps taken for alternate to these Commissions and District Forums for both Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh in order to settle the pending cases.
Hearing the petition with reference to effective functioning of the erstwhile State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, the Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Tashi Rabstan directed the Chief Secretaries of both UTs to apprise the court about the steps taken for providing the State Commission and District Forums for both the UTs for disposal of the pending complaints and appeals in these Commissions and Forms within one week.
The direction followed after the counsel appearing for General Administration Department apprised the court that in-terms of the decision of the Government on October 23, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal (SCDRC) Commission and District Consumer Forums stands closed in the winding up process as a consequence to implementation of J&K Re-Organization Act 2019.
On the other hand amicus appointed to the PIL informed the court that large number of consumer disputes which were pending disposal before the Redressal Commission and District Forums of J&K and Ladakh were transferred to the Consumer Department. He further added that it is in-terms of Table-3 of J&K Re-Organization Act, the Consumer Protection Act stands repealed and in terms of the schedule fifth, the Central Consumer Protection Act came to be applicable to both the UTs.
It is under the Government order on October 23, the sanction was accorded to the winding up of SCDRC with effect from October 31( the appointed date for the formation of the erstwhile J&K State into two UTs) and all the staff posted in the commission was asked to report to their concerned administrative departments for their repatriation to their respective departments with immediate effect. “All records pertaining to the J&K SCDRC be transferred to the Department of FCS&CA for records”, read the Government order.
Court has been also informed that under the winding up of process of the Redressal Commission and District Forums all the presidents of these Forums, who were on deputation as District Judges at Srinagar and Jammu are repatriated to the High Court and the cases are left without Forums.
“In addition 2500 cases are closed which were pending before the State Commission. it is submitted that interms of the Government order, the records are transferred to the concerned Assistant Directors of the Department of FCS&CA”, amicus submitted.
Referring the section 9 of the Consumer Protection Act which deals with the establishment of District Forums which are established by the State Government in each district, Court however, in terms of clause (j) of rule 2 of the Consumer Protections Rules of 1987 said the state includes UTs also. Being the position of law and in view of important public interest involved in the matter, court said, “it is proper to direct the Governments of both UTs to inform the court about the steps taken for alternate arrangements for establishment of Commissions and District Forms so that the pending cases are settled.”