Piyush Goyal Emphasises on affordable justice to Consumers
Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal during a national workshop Emphasised on speedy and affordable justice by Consumer Commissions across the country. Piyush Goyal urged that all Commissions should figure out ways to use digital media like WhatsApp and e-mail to issue notices, replies and other documents.
Piyush Goyal inaugurated the National Workshop on ‘Effective and Speedy Consumer Disputes Redressal’ with Presidents and Members of National, State and District along with Principal Secretaries of the State organized by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
While addressing the members present there, Goyal said that that the Consumer Commissions must follow the timelines according to the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 for e disposal of cases. He said that the commissions must provide speedy justice by disposing cases within 3-5 months of filing.
Goyal also mentioned that, the Consumer Protection Act 2019, which came into effect from July 2020, introduces reference of consumer disputes to Mediation, with the consent of both parties. This will save time and money involved in litigating the dispute and help in reducing the pendency of cases as well. The Government is also taking steps to in encourage the use of electronic mediation (e-mediation). This will help in ensuring that location and distance do not act as barriers whenever parties wish to opt for mediation for the settlement of cases.
To faster disposal of cases, the Act of 2019 says that the District Commission must send a copy of complaint to the opposite party within 21 days from the date of its admission. The opposite party should reply within 30 days which may be extended by a maximum of 15 days.
Over 150 District Commissions, 11 State Commissions along with National Commission have established mediation centres till date.
He also highlighted how important is the digitization of all documents. Submitting documents in digitised form and facilitating documentations in online mode will enable hassle free procedure for consumers. He emphasized that an effective and affordable justice system can only be made after simplification of process.
He further added that huge pendency and delayed disposal are some major challenges. He also pointed out that according to the data of 14th June 2022, the pendency of cases in the National Commission was 22,608; State Commission was 1,49,608 and District Commission was 4,66,034. He suggested that pendency can be reduced by bunching of similar cases and disposing it together.
Supporting the statement that ‘justice delayed is justice denied,’ he said that e-filing should also be provided with importance like e-disposal. He urged the authorities to facilitate virtual hearings in all cases and admired the growth of e –daakhil portal which enables online filing of consumer complaints.
He said that Consumer is King and centre of all the activities of Government of India. Therefore, the State Commissions must strengthen infrastructure for which Centre will extend support. He also stressed that everyone working in Consumer Commissions should consider his or her work not just as any job but as a service towards citizens.
He further proposed services of Bureau of Indian Standards. (BIS) and National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited laboratories may be utilised by consumer commissions for timely resolution of consumer grievances which require product testing and analysis.
The Union Minister of State for Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Rural Development Ms. Sadhvi Nirajan Jyoti in her keynote address underlined that we are all consumers in our day-to-day life and would definitely expect speedy redressal of our grievances. Further, she quoted that “Jaisa hamara kathan ho vaisa hi hamara chintan hona chahiye” in respect to finding solutions to deliver speedy justice to consumers. She also pointed out that the consumer gets stuck in the vicious loop of online marketing and suffer losses.