No one seems to be aware of the fact that the post of the President and members of (i) Manipur State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and (ii) District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions of all the districts of Manipur including Imphal (East & West), Bishnupur and Thoubal Districts are remaining vacant
Activist Wahengbam Joykumar Singh has put up a very important issue, which has been left aside by almost all the people of the state. Considering the significance of the issue he had highlighted and submitted a memorandum to the concerned government Ministers and top official, Imphal Times assumed it to highlight this issue as the Voice of this newspaper (Imphal Times)
Whether the concerned Minister of the CAF & PD or the Commissioner and the Director of the same would listen to the plea for filling of the vacant post in the interest of the general public, Activist Joykumar had requested the concerns to fill the post.
In Manipur, it is not surprising, we have seen and witnessed many important posts of the government remain vacant (either intentionally keeping it vacant or not is another question). The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 had started commissioning on July 20, 2020, after repealing the earlier enactment i.e. the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The new Act empowers consumers and helps them in protecting their rights through its various notified Rules and provisions like Consumer Protection Councils, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, Mediation, Product Liability, and punishment for manufacture or sale of products containing adulterant/spurious goods.
Even though common people are not made aware of the new Act. This new Act provides for simplifying the consumer dispute adjudication process in the consumer commissions, which include, among others, empowerment of the State and District Commissions to review their own orders, enabling a consumer to file complaints electronically and file complaints in consumer Commissions that have jurisdiction over the place of his residence, videoconferencing for hearing and deemed admissibility of complaints if the question of admissibility is not decided within the specified period of 21 days.
However, in spite of the enactment of the new Act, the people of Manipur could not get the benefits of the new welfare legislation for the want of fully functional commissions at the State level and district levels. The Act prescribed for establishment of one State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for each State and one or more District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions for each and every Districts. There are 16 districts in Manipur. However, the Government of Manipur established three District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions for 16 districts of Manipur. The three District Commissions are located at Imphal, Bishnupur, and Thoubal Districts. Thus, the people of far-flung districts of Manipur encounter untold difficulties while attempting to lodge their grievances to these commissions inasmuch as 13 districts have no their own District Commission at their district headquarters.
Presently, the Manipur State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission is manned by one judicial member against the actual requirement of one President and 4 members. Over and above the State Commission is assigned to discharge and perform functions of the State Food Commission, which is required to be established under the National Food Security Act, 2013. Further, the existing three District Commissions are not manned by the required number of presidents and members. At present District Commissions of Imphal, Thoubal and Bishnupur have no presidents and are run by two members each, which is quite contrary to the provisions of the Act and handicapped to the functioning of their daily functions. Several representations were filed from different quarters in the past, however, no tangible action has so far been taken up for filling up the vacant posts of presidents and members of these commissions to date.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and various other commissions in other States in India have already introduced a system of online filing and hearing through video conferencing. However, in Manipur, no such system is not introduced apart from keeping the commissions in the doldrums due to the lack of requisite number of presidents and members. Such shortcomings ultimately cause hindrance to the administration of justice and give a serious blow to the rule of law of the land.
Instead of waiting for a public complaint the government authority should seriously look into this matter and fill the vacant post so that it will bring a good image of the government.