Delhi HC issues directions for speedy disposal of consumer court cases

In view of the large number of cases pending before the consumer courts in Delhi, the Delhi High Court recently issued a slew of directions for the speedy disposal of consumer cases.

In its order of November 1, the HC directed the registrars of the district consumer forums concerned to start listing “final matters for hearing at 2.30 pm on a daily basis” from November 14.

A single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh was hearing a plea claiming that the District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (West), Janakpuri, Delhi had not disposed of the complaint since 2007.

The direction stated that these matters shall be listed in a chronological manner, starting from the oldest cases. Further, the matters will be published in advance in the cause list so that the lawyers and litigants are duly informed. The HC also directed that monthly reports be submitted by the respective registrars of the district forums to the Registrar General of the High Court informing about the status of disposal of the final matters.

The HC was informed about the pending cases through a report filed by the registrar general setting out specific details as to the functioning of the various District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forums in Delhi.

According to the report, there are 9,181 matters pending “for final arguments after conclusion of evidence” in the 10 district consumer forums of Delhi, with South West district leading with 2,827 such cases.

The HC was informed that some of these cases date back to 2003 and further that matters get adjourned and the consumer forums do not sit post 12 or 1 pm and do not hold physical hearings.

The High Court further directed the registrar general of the High Court to hold a meeting to consider the creation of District Consumer Forum in Shahdara which is the only district in Delhi that lacks a district forum. Other issues such as providing requisite infrastructure in those district forums which lack the same, the feasibility and modalities for creation of mediation cells at the relevant District Consumer Forums would also be considered at the meeting.

The HC directed the attendance of president or member from each of the district consumer forums in the city, along with the registrar, Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, secretary to ministry of consumer affairs, food & public distribution, GNCTD, additional standing counsels for Delhi Government, petitioner’s counsel as well registrar general of HC’s team who had conducted inspection of various district consumer forums in the meeting.

The conclusion or the minutes of the meeting were directed to be placed before the high court on the next date of hearing, which is on November 22.

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