How is the District Forum constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986? Briefly describe the procedure followed by the District Forum to settle consumer disputes.
Explain clearly the formation, scope and process of grievance red ressal of District Forum.
Establishment of District Forum
The State Government will, by notification, establish a Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum in each district which will be known as District Forum. [Section 9(a)] The State Government may, if it thinks fit, establish more than one District Forum in a district.
Constitution of District Forum
The formation of District Forum will consist of three members, out of which one will be the President (Chairman) and two members. Apart from the Chairperson, there are two other persons who will be members, one of these two members must be a woman. [Section 10(1)]
The President of the District Forum shall be a person who is at present a District Judge or has held this post or has the qualifications to become a District Judge. The qualifications of other members will be as follows-
(i) Must be at least 35 years of age. (ii) Must be a graduate degree holder from a recognized university. (iii) should be persons of ability, integrity and standing and having adequate knowledge of economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public relations or administration and of doing work connected therewith. Have experience of at least ten years.
No person shall be eligible to be appointed as a member- (i) if he has been convicted of an offense and sent to jail and the offense is, in the opinion of the State Government, related to moral misconduct. (ii) if he is an unmukt insolvent. (iii) if he is a person of unsound mind declared by a competent court. (iv) if he has been removed or dismissed from Government service or from the service of an amalgamated institution owned or controlled by the Government. (v) if, in the opinion of the State Government, he has such financial or other interest as may be prejudicial to the fair discharge of his duties as a member. (vi) if he has any other disqualifications as may be determined by the State Government.
Appointment of the members of the District Forum
The appointment of the President and the members of the District Forum will be done by the State Government on the basis of the recommendation of the Selection Committee. This selection committee will be constituted as follows- (j) the Chairman of the State Commission shall be its chairman; (ii) the Secretary of the Law Department of the State shall be its member; (iii) The Secretary of the Department in charge of Consumer Affairs shall be its member.
When the Chairperson of the State Commission is unable to act as the Chairperson of the Selection Committee due to absence or any other reason, the State Government shall direct the Chief Justice of the High Court to nominate a sitting Judge of the High Court to act as Chairperson. Can say for
Tenure of the members of the District Forum [Section 10(2)] – The term of each member of the District Forum shall be five years or till he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
Such member shall be eligible for re-appointment for a term of five years or till he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier, provided he fulfills all the qualifications and conditions relating to appointment but such re-appointment shall be on the recommendation of the Selection Committee.
If a member of the District Forum resigns from his post, then on the acceptance of the resignation by the State Government, this post will be treated as vacant and this post will be filled from the same category of person who has resigned. This person will be required to possess the prescribed qualifications.
The Chairperson or Members appointed prior to the commencement of the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act, 2002, shall continue to function till the completion of their term.
Salary, Allowances and Conditions of Service – Salary, consolidated honorarium, other allowances and conditions of service payable to the members of the District Forum will be the same as will be fixed by the State Government. [Section 10(3)]
Jurisdiction of District Forum [Section 11] – The District Forum shall have the right to accept complaints from its area subject to fulfillment of the following conditions:
1, When the value of the goods or services or compensation claimed does not exceed twenty lakh rupees. That is, claims of an amount exceeding twenty lakh rupees cannot be made in the district forum.
2, a complaint can be presented (registered) in the District Forum within the local limits of its jurisdiction, that is, a complaint can be presented in the District Forum only. Whereas – (i) in the case of the opposite party or more than one opposite party, each of the opposite parties is actually and voluntarily residing in the area of the district or carrying on business or having branch office or profit personally at the time of making the complaint. work for; or (ii) any of the opposite parties (when there is more than one party at the time of complaint) is actually and voluntarily residing within the limits of that district or carrying on any business or having a branch office or for personal gain does any work and in such case either the District Forum has given its permission or the opposite parties who do not reside within the limits of this district or do not conduct any business or do not work for their own profit: has given his tacit consent to the presentation of such complaint, or (in part or whole the reason for presenting the suit has arisen).