State consumer forum vacancies draw Supreme Court ire

NEW DELHI: Sending a stern message to all state governments that they would not be let off lightly after not complying with its order and for delay in filing responses, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said exemplary cost be imposed in such cases and amount should be recovered from erring bureaucrats and fine ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 1. 5 lakh imposed on states depending upon their gravity of non-compliance in filling up vacancies in state and district consumer forums.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh took strong exception that most of the states have not filed compliance report on filling up the vacant posts in state and district consumer forums and on appointment of nodal officer to facilitate the utilisation of funds released by Centre within the stipulated time. The court had passed the order on December 1 last year and granted states to comply with the order in two months and directed them to file report.
As states failed to act as per the order, the bench said it had to act tough against them as it causes wastage of precious judicial time. “We have to be merciless to make you understand. States have lots of money so they can pay the cost. Order was passed on December 1 but states start acting just days before the hearing. This isn’t acceptable. Compliance must be done in a time bound manner as fixed by court. ,” the bench said.
The court said the fundamental problem is bureaucratic hurdle and officers “do not get pushed even when the court pushes them” to act. “Cost is the only language they under- stand and it has to be paid by the concerned officers,” the bench said.
“There is no other language that they understand. This is the only way to make them act. Either we impose cost or summon them and state must bear the consequences for not complying our order,” it said. It imposed varying cost on states on the basis of gravity of non-compliance and delay in filing report. It said in cases of seven days delay in filing affidavits, states have to pay Rs 25,000 cost. In case of two weeks delay, the amount would be 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh for more than two weeks delay.
The bench reduced the quantum of cost for some states after their counsel submitted that the compliance report was ready.

The Open Magazine of India by Artmotion Network (

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