Srinagar, Oct 25: Hundreds of consumers are facing hardships in the summer capital as consumer courts are yet to be notified under the Consumer Protection Act 2019 in J&K.
Consumers complain that they are not able to file fresh complaints while those who have already filed are also waiting to get their cases disposed of.
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into effect from 20 July 2019, replacing the earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Under J&K Reorganization Act 2019, the new Consumer Act was made applicable to J&K.
Earlier, the Consumer Courts in J&K were established and made functional under J&K Consumer Protection Act.
“There are around 2.50 lakh consumer complaints pending for disposal before consumer courts across J&K. With the new Act coming into force, the then-existing consumer courts become non-functional,” said advocate Mir Naveed Gul.
He added that authorities were required to notify Consumer Courts under the new Act. “Large number of clients are calling their counsels, asking if the Consumer Courts have been made functional. However, they get disappointed to know the notification in this regard is yet to come,” he said.
Advocate Gul added that currently consumers (people) are not able to file their complaints related consumer disputes and claims and to seek justice, due to non-functionality of Consumer Courts.
Several consumers expressed similar views and urged upon the authorities to make Consumer Courts functional in J&K without any further delay.
The new Act provides that a consumer can institute a complaint from where he resides or from where he works for gain.
Advocate Gul pointed out that the new Act is more consumer friendly and overhauls the administration and settlement of consumer disputes.
“It provides for strict penalties, including jail terms for adulteration and for misleading advertisements. More importantly, it now prescribes rules for the sale of goods through e-commerce. It benefits the consumer in several ways,” he said.
He informed that an aggrieved consumer can file complaints about a defect in goods or deficiency in services from where she lives, instead of the place of business or residence of the seller or service provider. The new law provides for e-filing of consumer complaint as well.
He added that a concept of product liability has been introduced by the new law, thereby allowing aggrieved consumers to claim significant compensation as a relief due to the negligence of the manufacturer or service provider.
The new Act provides that consumers now have several protected rights, including the right to safety, information, choice, redressal as well as right to be heard, to be educated as a consumer, and to a mediated settlement.
An official at Department Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, said that committee has already been constituted and the process is at its final stage.