Source: Inhouse illustration
Source: Inhouse illustration

Vacant consumer panel post irks SC, warns state govts of exemplary cost

One-liner: The Supreme Court on Wednesday warned of imposing exemplary costs on state govts in case of failure to submit a status report within a week regarding vacancies, including on the infrastructure, in State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.

Fine threat: A bench said it would take stern action if reports are not submitted and a cost of ₹2 lakh will be imposed on them which will be recovered from officers.

Crux of the matter: The top court was hearing a suo motu case on the inaction of the govts in appointing president and members/staff of Districts and State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and inadequate infrastructure across India.

Stern message: "The counsel for states assured that the deficiencies would be addressed within a week. We remind the defaulting states that we will take stern action if reports are not submitted and cost imposed on them. If this is the only language understood, we will do it." - Bench

Reports not submitted: At the outset, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appointed as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case, informed the bench that all the states have not submitted reports in the prescribed format.

Court displeased: The bench expressed displeasure at the non-compliance by the states of its order dated Oct 22, 2021.

Earlier remark: Expressing displeasure over delay in appointments, the top court had earlier said if the govt does not want the tribunals then it should abolish the Consumer Protection Act.