Missing consumer forum leaves consumer court in Anantnag defunct

Missing consumer forum leaves consumer court in Anantnag defunct
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Anantnag: The consumer court here at Principal District Sessions Court, Anantnag, has been technically defunct for about the last two years in the absence of a consumer forum.
Sources said that around 200 cases pertaining to consumer protection are pending in the court, with only their presentation so far undertaken and no further proceedings initiated.
As per the court lawyers, a Consumer Forum was in place at the court till around early 2016, and the cases tried there were moving forward quite well.
“However the unrest of 2016 somehow translated into dissolution of the consumer forum. No one is quite sure how and when did the forum dissolve,” a lawyer told Kashmir Reader on condition of anonymity.
Following this, repeated reminders have been sent to the department of Consumer Affairs (CA) to appoint the Consumer Forum afresh.
As per sources, a list of around six people, jointly compiled by the district administration and the Bar Council, has been sent to the Consumer Affairs department.
“The department, despite repeated reminders, has been sitting on the list with no headway in sight,” sources in the court said.
They said that the consumers, who have their cases presented before the court, have been waiting endlessly to see proceedings advance without any luck so far.
“I have presented a case against a company more than a year back. I am yet to witness any proceedings in the case,” Lateef Ahmad Keena, a consumer from Bijbehara, told Kashmir Reader.
The Consumer Court, as per court officials, is headed by the district and Sessions judge.
The judge, though, is overburdened with cases from every field, civil, criminal, recovery and Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT).
“Moreover, the honourable judge is also a special judge for cases pertaining to narcotics. It will be unfair to expect him to also hear the consumer-related cases in absence of a forum,” a court official said.
He said that the only solution was to appoint a forum which the CA department seems to have forgotten.
Director Consumer Affairs Nisar Ahmad Wani told Kashmir Reader that it was the law officer of the department who was looking into the proceedings of appointing a forum at the Anantnag court.
The Law officer, Zahoor Ahmad, made assurances that the forum would be appointed in a matter of days.
“I have been following the case myself. The forum would have been appointed, but the ongoing assembly session has become a reason of delay,” he said.
The Law officer said that the finalised forum has been sent for SRO vetting to the state Law department.
“It will be hopefully finalised in a day or two. We will issue an order within an hour of receiving the vetted list from the Law department,” he said.