New Delhi [India], December 22 (ANI): The Supreme Court has asked why a show-cause contempt notice should not be issued against the Principal Secretary of Uttar Pradesh government, Veena Kumari, for allegedly not complying with its earlier orders with respect to the working of the consumer courts in the state.
A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar and also comprising Justices BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, in its order dated December 18, however, said that "the personal presence of the alleged contemnor is dispensed with."
The bench, which was hearing the contempt petition filed by one NGO, petitioner, Bhartiya Upbhokta Sanrakshan Samiti, through its group of lawyers, including Prashant Shukla, Shreya Mishra and others, also sought a response within four weeks from the Veena Kumari and posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.
The plea sought directions to summon and punish all the alleged contemnors including Veena Kumari and others for committing wilful disobedience and gross contempt of several orders especially the Supreme Court's orders dated November 21, 2016, and September 11, 2018.
During a hearing, Shukla had told the apex court that the situation of district fora is so pathetic that most of these are running with three to four staffs, which he said including peon and judicial members.
The plea claimed that the Supreme Court order was allegedly violated by the contemnor in connection with the various aspects of the working of the consumer courts, right from the district forum to the Apex National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
"At the very outset, the petitioner highlighted the dismal/woeful condition of the Consumer Fora functioning within the country. The deficiency of infrastructure in the adjudicatory fora constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has led to several directions of this Court in the course of the proceedings in the case," Shukla said.
The plea said that the primary objective of the petitioner was to seek fulfilment and redressal of the mandate and objectives of the Consumer Protection Act its rules.
"Various orders have been issued by this Top Court from time to time for streamlining the efficiency of the consumer dispute redressal courts. There is a state of total lack of application of norms and implementation of various committee reports prescribing measures for efficiency and efficacious relief to the consumer in the state of Uttar Pradesh," the plea said.
It said that Uttar Pradesh has virtually defeated the purpose and object of the Consumer Protection Act. The quality of presiding members, especially of non-judicial members at the state and district levels is poor, it added.
"One of the reasons is that remuneration, which is being paid to non-judicial members of consumer fora varies from state to state and is too merger to attract qualified talent. Most non-judicial members are not even capable of writing or dictating small orders," the plea said.
"Many non-judicial members do not maintain punctuality and others attend to work sporadically once or twice a week," it added and sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the alleged contemnor (s). (ANI)