The Supreme Court (SC) of India on 21 November 2016 directed the Union Government to frame model rules prescribing objective norms for the administration of consumer courts. It should be done within four months.
The direction was passed by the three-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao. The bench expressed its concern over the working of consumer courts including the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. It said that a systematic overall of the infrastructure is necessary if the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is not to become a dead letter.
In its directions, the apex court clarified the role, functions and powers of the National Consumer Commission, State consumer commissions and district consumer fora. This was done to ensure that the mechanism to protect the consumer from unfair trade practices is strengthened.
Besides, the court also asked both, the union and state governments, to immediately interfere to set right the system. It also asked the two to fill up the vacancies of members in these courts.
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