Emphasising on speedy and affordable justice by Consumer Commissions across the country, Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Commerce & Industry at a national workshop urged that all Commissions to see how digital media such as WhatsApp and e-mail can be generously used to issue notices, replies and other documents.
Goyal inaugurated the National Workshop on ‘Effective and Speedy Consumer Disputes Redressal’ with President and Members of National Commission, President and Members of State Commissions and Presidents of selected District Commissions along with Principal Secretaries of the State organized by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
Goyal said that to provide a faster and amicable mode of settlement of consumer disputes, the new Act (Consumer Protection Act 2019 that came in to effect from July 2020) also introduces reference of consumer disputes to Mediation, with the consent of both parties. This will not only save time and money involved in litigating the dispute, it will also help in reducing the pendency of cases.
The Government is also taking proactive steps in encouraging 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. So far 153 District Commissions, 11 State Commissions along with National Commission have established mediation centres. I would like to request all States / UTs to expedite setting up mediation centres and appointing mediators.
He further highlighted the importance of digitization of all documents that are required to be submitted and urged all the Commissions to implement e-documentation and facilitate all documents and process to be online mode to enable hassle free procedure for consumers. He emphasized that simplification of process leads to more effective and affordable justice system.
He added that delayed disposal and huge pendency remains a major challenge towards redressal of Consumer Grievances. Pointing out, he mentioned that as per the data on 14th June 2022, the pendency in the National Commission was 22,608; State Commission was 1,49,608 and District Commission was 4,66,034. He said that those seeking repeated adjournments should also be dealt with. He suggested that pendency can be reduced by bunching of similar cases and disposing it together.