NGO seeks more members, space for consumer panel

Aggrieved at the dismal rate of disposal of complaints, Help Mumbai Foundation has petitioned the Maharashtra government to increase members of and space for State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

In a letter to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, the NGO has said the commission had only four benches - two in Mumbai and one in Nagpur and Aurangabad each.

"The pendency of consumer disputes is huge, 8,000 cases in Mumbai alone. Every year, over 6,000 cases are filed. National Commission norms mandate each bench to dispose 70 to 100 cases per month. Since there are only two benches in Mumbai, only around 2,400 cases are being disposed every year."

Help Mumbai Foundation has sought constitution of six more benches to clear the arrears in Mumbai. It has also sought shifting of the commission to GT Hospital building in south Mumbai to accomodate the nearly 5,000 litigants and lawyers who visit it every day.

"The present space of 3,000 sq ft cannot be vertically developed as it is part of green zone. The commission, in a proposal to the secretary of food, civil supplies and consumer protection in February last year, sought two floors in the new GT Hospital building," the letter said, adding that since the building was a subject matter of a litigation pending before High Court, no decision had been taken yet by the government.

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