Govt alerts airports to prevent Italian ambassador from leaving India

The decision was taken by the Union home ministry a day after the Supreme Court restrained the Italian ambassador from leaving India without its permission

 
The government has alerted all airports in the country to prevent Italian ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country.
 
The decision was taken by the Union home ministry a day after the Supreme Court restrained the Italian ambassador from leaving India without its permission, official sources said.
 
The apex court had taken exception to Italian government’s refusal to send back two naval guards charged with the killing of two fishermen last February.
 
The two naval guards were allowed by the court to go to Italy to cast their vote in the elections there after the Italian ambassador had given an assurance to send them back.
 
Attorney general (AG) GE Vahanvati had brought up the issue yesterday before the apex court, saying that “it’s a breach of undertaking given to the highest court of the land and the government is extremely concerned about it”.
 
After hearing the AG’s submission, the bench issued notices to the ambassador and the two naval guards and asked them to file their response by 18th March.
 
The two naval guards were on board Italian vessel “Enrica Lexie”, when they shot dead two fishermen off the Kerala coast on 15th February, last year.
 

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Consumer rights: Time to think and act ‘jara hatke’?

Why the consumers are taken for a ride, while buying goods and services from the public, private and government institutions? Why the Consumer Protection Act has failed to usher in the much expected consumer revolution? What we can do to bring about real reforms

Celebrating World Consumer Day (WCD) on 15th March has become a ritual like celebrating most other such days like environmental, cancer, safety, mothers, children days, etc. Instead can we celebrate this WCD differently? Can each of us reflect on how consumers suffer, irrespective of their being rich or poor, urban or rural, literate or illiterate? Why are consumers taken for a ride, while buying goods and services from public, private and government institutions? Why has the Consumer Protection Act failed to usher in the much expected consumer revolution? Finally, what can we do to bring about real reform?

 

Instead of consumer activists organizing WCD celebrations, government agencies should organize them in a ritualistic way. They are the real cause of much of the woes of consumers. This year, like in previous years, deputy commissioners have been ordered to organize WCD to highlight problems that consumers face as a result of rampant food adulteration and various ways of fraudulent weighing of goods. No doubt food adulteration is a serious problem. But are these the issues to be taken up to usher in consumer revolution or promote consumer protection?

 

It is always easy to blame the government. But in a democracy where we, the people are ultimate rulers, we need to introspect on what has been our role? Why have we abdicated our responsibilities? Have we put pressure on the government not to squander taxpayers’ money by organizing ritualistic functions which do not produce results? Why are consumer activists not organizing WCD? Often, they gladly participate in such celebrations with government officials in order to curry favour. 

 

WCD is a time for serious thinking to bring about much needed reforms to make “Consumer the King”. We need “out of the box” thinking. All our earlier efforts have failed to get results. Despite the adoption of new laws and new initiatives by the government, consumers’ woes are increasing by the day. Before we discuss a new paradigm it may be useful to list some major consumer problems.

 

Even before the LPG quota to limit the number of cylinders one can buy at a subsidized price, it has never been an easy to replenish the LPG supply. Now securing LPG has become a nightmare. Should consumers suffer to procure simple daily cooking needs? Why can we not develop a more streamlined approach of distributing LPG, while meeting the urgent need of supplying LPG at a subsidized price to those, who are below the poverty line? In order to reduce diversion of subsidized LPG, the government has made the system even worse and more prone to corruption. Despite hundreds of studies, woes of consumers in securing rationed items under PDS are ever present. 

 

Energy regulatory commissions were established to improve power supply by streamlining the tariff setting process. The underlying principle was to reduce political interference and improve efficiency. This was done by appointing an independent regulatory body and by monitoring the operations of monopolies. However, we have not seen the expected results and the power crisis is only worsening.

 

The water supply problem is getting worse by the day even in places where people live close to water sources. There is not a single city in India where water is available on a 24x7 basis every day. Why? Politicians make long promises to improve water supply. Since water is a basic need, they promise to give water free or at highly subsidized price. But the reality is much different. Not only does the public not get adequate water supply, but also, in some places, they have to pay an exorbitant price. When will we start agitating for proper water supply? What can be more important than water?

 

A recent report by Pratham (a Mumbai-based NGO providing primary education to underprivileged children) has showed how our children are getting poor education in both the government and private schools. In fact our education sector from pre-schooling to university has collapsed. Less than 15% to 20% of the graduates produced by our education system are employable. On paper our literacy rate is climbing. But it is climbing at a rate based on a simple criterion of being able to sign. Do we need any more statistics to prove that we, the public, are short-changed by our educational institutions?

 

Health delivery system especially to the poor is also deteriorating, as some Indian cities are trying to promote health tourism to attract foreign patients. When we have the ultra-modern hospitals to meet the needs of the rich, government hospitals and even most of the private hospitals are failing in their duty to take care of the patients. Regularly the government is coming up with new schemes to help the poor with improved health delivery system. Unfortunately, their impact is minimal. Even some of the poor African countries have better child and maternal mortality statistics.

 

Citizen’s charter complemented by Right to Information was supposed to help the public when seeking services at government offices. Have they? Has it reduced corruption? While we talk of strengthening laws concerning Lok Ayukta and adapting a Lokpal Bill, the ground realities are that without bribing it is impossible to get any timely service at government offices. It looks as though our society has given up the effort to fight corruption, though at the national level it has been on the front burner for some time.

 

Since, it is a well known and accepted fact that the consumer is at the receiving end, while buying goods and services from the private companies, the above list deals only with the services provided by the government. Where should the consumer movement start to help the consumers?

 

We do not need any more laws and regulations. What we need is better governance at every level and heightened awareness among the public that in a democracy we are the rulers. How many of us will relate the need to elect honest and competent candidates with the consumer movement? It is only by electing the right candidates can we improve governance. Only when governance improves can we hope for a beginning of the end of consumer woes and the possibility of a real consumer movement.

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COMMENTS

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

When a consumer goes in for purchase he is under the impression that Weights & Measurement Dept., plus Food Dept might be doing there job properly, are they really doing their job properly as per Act? In the interests of the consumers or it is otherwise, SEE THE MESS IN EPF DEPT hard to comprehend, the corruption in the Dept. is mind boggling.

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

There is an article in DNA regarding HUL's low growth, why is it so, if consumer do stand up properly, we will see growth like this around us, if the Co'. is running properly then will have a really good run and if skimming the consumers might face a topsy turvey future. http://epaper.dnaindia.com/epapermain.as...

AVINASH PRABHUNE

4 years ago

The following matter was published in TOI Nagpur on 18 August 2012. NAGPUR:
Maharashtra Government has handed over the additional charge of Nagpur District Consumer Forum to Bhandara Consumer Forum President RD Kundle. Kundle will now be dividing his time managing both the offices. Expectedly, these forums will now be available only for 15 days, that too for half day at each forum, resulting in increasing number of pending cases.
According to RTI activist Avinash Prabhune, instead of appointing a new person on the vacant post, the government had given a temporary charge. He informed that the president post of Nagpur District Consumer Forum was lying vacant since last two years. Former president of additional forum Vijaysingh Rane was holding the charge of both the forums, which were functioning for half a week only. But after his retirement in July this year, situation has gone from bad to worse as both the forums were running without a president.
The consumer forums have been constituted with a view to give quick justice to the customers who are fleeced by the companies or shopkeepers. But, the vacant posts, especially of the judges, are making the matters worse for the customers, as pendency of cases is increasing everyday. Thanks to the lethargy of Maharashtra Government in making appointments on this vital posts.
Citing documents obtained by RTI activist Avinash Prabhune, TOI had reported that president post of Nagpur District Consumer Forum was lying vacant since last two years. Former president of additional forum Vijaysingh Rane was holding the charge of both the forums, which were functioning for half a week only. But after his retirement in July this year, situation has gone from bad to worse as both the forums were running without a president.
According to Prabhune, instead of appointing a new person, the government had given a temporary charge to the Bhandara District Consumer Forum president RD Kundle who will now be dividing his time managing both the offices. Expectedly, these forums will now be available only for 15 days, that too for half day at each forum, resulting in piling of pending cases.
"As the pendency is increasing, it's the customers who are suffering. All the newly appointed judges are visiting ones and it is impossible to run the forums without any permanent member," Prabhune pointed out.
Citing examples, the RTI activist stated that about 2,300 cases were filed in last two years before the district forum whereas only 350 cases were filed during same period in additional district forum. "These two forums should be merged to ensure full day working of one forum as their separate existence was resulting in unnecessary expenditure," he suggested, adding that approximately Rs36 lakh were lost due to vacant posts. He further informed that Maharashtra was having 40 district forums of which eight were without presidents while posts of 23 members were vacant.
Prabhune further stated that due to large number of holidays coupled with weekly offs, the working of forums was affected. "As per Consumer Protection Act, 1986, a minimum of two authorities can conduct the proceedings. A forum is supposed to have three members but these posts are never filled up. In case a single member is absent, the proceedings are adjourned for the day," he lamented.
Blaming the bureaucracy for being casual in implementing Supreme Court orders regarding the Consumer Protection Act, he said from the treatment meted out to important city like Nagpur, one can well imagine the situation at other district forums in the state.

TODAY as on 24/03/2013, situation has not changed much.
Incidentally Hon cabinet Minister is also from the Nagpur city therefore, I request Hon Sh Anil Deshmukh, Hon Minister of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, to conduct enquiry & take necessary actions on the responsible for such failure in timely appointments & such huge delay in appointments. His department has a twin responsibility to, Implement the Public Distribution System. Promoting & protecting the rights of consumers by implementing Acts and Rules
But kindly see our adamant bureaucracy & after about Six months of publishing following Matter, situation is not changed much. Now One President Hon Shri A.S.Kaloti & One Member Hon Sh S G Deshmukh has been appointed for Nagpur Dist Consumer Forum but they have work first half day for Nagpur Dist Consmer Forum & Second half for Addl Nagpur Dist Consumer Forum. Thus Nagpur Dist Consumer Forum is available for Consumers for half day. Just think, whom to blame for such scenario. It is felt that unless
Hon Supreme court has observed regarding ‘The Consumer Protection Act 1986’ as under:-
‘The Act meets long felt necessity of protecting the common man from such wrongs for which the remedy under the ordinary law for various reasons has become illusory. The Act has to be construed in favour of the consumer to achieve the purpose of enactment as it is a social benefit oriented legislation.’
But it appears that bureaucracy is very casual about implementing the provisions of the Act in true spirit & minimizing the hardship of Consumers. It also appears that lethargic thick skinned fearless administration is putting burden on the common man ignoring the Hon Supreme court observations
avinash prabhune

AVINASH PRABHUNE

4 years ago

The following matter was published in TOI Nagpur on 18 August 2012. NAGPUR:
Maharashtra Government has handed over the additional charge of Nagpur District Consumer Forum to Bhandara Consumer Forum President RD Kundle. Kundle will now be dividing his time managing both the offices. Expectedly, these forums will now be available only for 15 days, that too for half day at each forum, resulting in increasing number of pending cases.
According to RTI activist Avinash Prabhune, instead of appointing a new person on the vacant post, the government had given a temporary charge. He informed that the president post of Nagpur District Consumer Forum was lying vacant since last two years. Former president of additional forum Vijaysingh Rane was holding the charge of both the forums, which were functioning for half a week only. But after his retirement in July this year, situation has gone from bad to worse as both the forums were running without a president.
The consumer forums have been constituted with a view to give quick justice to the customers who are fleeced by the companies or shopkeepers. But, the vacant posts, especially of the judges, are making the matters worse for the customers, as pendency of cases is increasing everyday. Thanks to the lethargy of Maharashtra Government in making appointments on this vital posts.
Citing documents obtained by RTI activist Avinash Prabhune, TOI had reported that president post of Nagpur District Consumer Forum was lying vacant since last two years. Former president of additional forum Vijaysingh Rane was holding the charge of both the forums, which were functioning for half a week only. But after his retirement in July this year, situation has gone from bad to worse as both the forums were running without a president.
According to Prabhune, instead of appointing a new person, the government had given a temporary charge to the Bhandara District Consumer Forum president RD Kundle who will now be dividing his time managing both the offices. Expectedly, these forums will now be available only for 15 days, that too for half day at each forum, resulting in piling of pending cases.
"As the pendency is increasing, it's the customers who are suffering. All the newly appointed judges are visiting ones and it is impossible to run the forums without any permanent member," Prabhune pointed out.
Citing examples, the RTI activist stated that about 2,300 cases were filed in last two years before the district forum whereas only 350 cases were filed during same period in additional district forum. "These two forums should be merged to ensure full day working of one forum as their separate existence was resulting in unnecessary expenditure," he suggested, adding that approximately Rs36 lakh were lost due to vacant posts. He further informed that Maharashtra was having 40 district forums of which eight were without presidents while posts of 23 members were vacant.
Prabhune further stated that due to large number of holidays coupled with weekly offs, the working of forums was affected. "As per Consumer Protection Act, 1986, a minimum of two authorities can conduct the proceedings. A forum is supposed to have three members but these posts are never filled up. In case a single member is absent, the proceedings are adjourned for the day," he lamented.
Blaming the bureaucracy for being casual in implementing Supreme Court orders regarding the Consumer Protection Act, he said from the treatment meted out to important city like Nagpur, one can well imagine the situation at other district forums in the state.

TODAY as on 24/03/2013, situation has not changed much.
Incidentally Hon cabinet Minister is also from the Nagpur city therefore, I request Hon Sh Anil Deshmukh, Hon Minister of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, to conduct enquiry & take necessary actions on the responsible for such failure in timely appointments & such huge delay in appointments. His department has a twin responsibility to, Implement the Public Distribution System. Promoting & protecting the rights of consumers by implementing Acts and Rules
But kindly see our adamant bureaucracy & after about Six months of publishing following Matter, situation is not changed much. Now One President Hon Shri A.S.Kaloti & One Member Hon Sh S G Deshmukh has been appointed for Nagpur Dist Consumer Forum but they have work first half day for Nagpur Dist Consmer Forum & Second half for Addl Nagpur Dist Consumer Forum. Thus Nagpur Dist Consumer Forum is available for Consumers for half day. Just think, whom to blame for such scenario. It is felt that unless
Hon Supreme court has observed regarding ‘The Consumer Protection Act 1986’ as under:-
‘The Act meets long felt necessity of protecting the common man from such wrongs for which the remedy under the ordinary law for various reasons has become illusory. The Act has to be construed in favour of the consumer to achieve the purpose of enactment as it is a social benefit oriented legislation.’
But it appears that bureaucracy is very casual about implementing the provisions of the Act in true spirit & minimizing the hardship of Consumers. It also appears that lethargic thick skinned fearless administration is putting burden on the common man ignoring the Hon Supreme court observations
avinash prabhune

Bhamy Shenoy

4 years ago

It is more than four days since the publication of this article and also the celebrations of World Consumer Day. Why is there so few comments on the sorry state of affairs.

I would have expected even more comments after seeing the comment by Arun Saxena on the dismal state of affairs at his consumer court. A political party is able to get (by fair or unfair means) thousands to protest against any justifiable or unjustifiable cause at the drop of a hat. Can we even imagine getting even hundreds to protest against the endless adjournments and denying of justice at Consumer Courts? In fact when Mysore Grahakara Parishat organized such an event, we could not get even 30 to particiipate.

I have been trying to find out how world consumer day was celebrated in different parts of India through the web. I come across so few articles. One article came across about Udupi celebration proves the point I made in my article. They were talking even after so many years of the movement about consumer rights. One would have expected that the consumer movement has come a long way to demand more urgent things.

Bhamy V Shenoy, Convener, Mysore Grahakara Parishat

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

We Indians are very slow or lethargic in taking up issues only
West Bengal has firebrands and I feel what is happening today will be set right only through revolution. Which will happen ultimately-do not know when in our life time or afterwards.

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

Which consumer rights are being talked today? It is might is right

Boodugere Nagaraj

4 years ago

It is high time "Consumer resistence movement" started in India {similar to salt sathyagrah by Mahatma Gandhi) All the consumers shoud totally boycott price raise, of particular essential commodity Eg. Nobody should buy milk for 2 days including Hotels etc. All Milk booths should close. Payment should not be made to dairy owners. The Co-operative movement is being misused in India. Exploitation of Consumers should stop !!

REPLY

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

In Reply to Boodugere Nagaraj 4 years ago

will anybody listen to all this

arun

4 years ago

Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane Consumer Courts are a different lot. They have their own terms for filing consumer complaint that is different from rest of the country. They go out of their way to make things difficult for the consumer so that they get discouraged and never return back to file their consumer complaint again.

The consumer courts in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane previously had an attempted to hamper easy filing of cases by implying Marathi as main language for filing cases, and all working in Marathi only. But that was soon abolished and so now they found a novel way of causing hinderance by implying 45 point check list for filing consumer complaint.

Even if a consumer passes the 45 point check list stage, he has to face the judge at the time of admission hearing where the judge will point out that the paragraph is not right, margin is not OK, line spacing should be double space, sentence is not in favout of you, etc. No focus will be given to what is the case and how fast the court will give judgement. 50% of the court's time is wasted in how to make papers and how it has to be designed.

I receive at least 2 complaints every day against the consumer courts from those consumers who visited the consumer court to file their complaint and had to run from pillar to post as every time some mistake or other is pointed out by the clerk and the consumer has to return back home to rectify and bring it back to the court for submission. The fun is that not all mistakes are pointed at one time and they are cunningly distributed in a manner to make the consumer have maximum rounds as possible.

There is no enacted rule or act that certifies the use of 45 point check list that the consumer courts in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane imply. Hence, it is illegal, anti national and works against the consumers and defeats the very purpose of the consumer court.

Consumer courts were established to help the economically weak consumers to get speedier justice. Rest of the country accepts consumer complaints in a friendly and sympathetic manner through a simple format, except the consumer courts in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane.

Happy World Consumers Day !

Should the consumers in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane celebrate or distress?

Regards
Arun Saxena
President
Intl. Consumer Rights Protection Council
http://www.consumergrievance.com

S BHASKARA NARAYANA

4 years ago

Every consumer plays the dual role of consumer at one end and service provider at other end. When he expects his rights as a consumer, he denies his duties at other end, which is a human nature. If the Authority pulls both the ends to strike a balance between rights and duties, the people in Democracy feel it as if they were pushed into "Emergency days".

REPLY

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

In Reply to S BHASKARA NARAYANA 4 years ago

That is the problem when he gets unlawful things he doesn't mind and vice versa

Vaibhav Dhoka

4 years ago

The Consumer Forums are quasi judicial and has miserably failed to deliver.In our country JUSTICE delivery system has failed in all aspect.

CA PRADEEP AGARWAL

4 years ago

CONSUMER IS A FOOL in the eyes of FMCG Co's they have made a mockery of WEIGHTS AND MEASUREMENT DEPT., SEE what weight is being given on goods, CAN BE SEEN BY ANYONE, they are reducing the weight as well as increasing the PRICES, actually consumers are taken for a ride, ki kuch nahi kahage, and doing everything/anything as per their will.

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