Citizens' Issues
Navi Mumbai Consumer Forum settles only eight complaints a year
Consumer Forums in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai are the worst in India, while the District Consumer Court in Chandigarh is the best, finds a consumer activist
 
The basic aim of consumer court is to “help the poor and needy with economical and speedy justice”. But in reality the opposite is true. The consumer courts are out there to find faults with the submissions and reject the complaints at small instances so as to reduce the workload. This is very cleverly done as teamwork of all the staff. This means if you try to complain to higher level in the same office, nothing will happen, as the higher staff hearing you is also the member of their team! A reply received under Right to Information (RTI) revealed that the Thane Additional Consumer Disputed Redressal Forum at Belapur in Navi Mumbai rejects 33.42% complaints at the admission stage. 
 
With my experience of 25 years with the various consumer courts in India, I have come to the conclusion that Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai consumer courts are the worst in India while the District Consumer Court in Chandigarh is the best. Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai consumer courts make different rules that suites themselves, violating the very purpose for which the consumer courts have been established, and also violating all the defined laws set up for accepting the complaints.
 
Few years ago the district consumer forums in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai wanted the case papers to be written in Marathi with translation in English, just to harass the consumers so that the consumer do not file complaints due to difficulty and expenses and shy away from the court. When this was opposed by the consumer activists new rules were made, which were more foolish….like keep a defined margin, defined spacing, defined format, and making pages in a certain sequence. If any little deviation, the consumer court had a good reason to dismiss the complaint or reject the case papers. Later the activists also opposed this and the consumer courts had to sheepishly withdraw this nuisance. 
 
The Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai consumer courts are run by bunch of corrupt jokers who do not know that there is no prescribed format for filing a consumer complaint in the district consumer disputes redressal forum and a simple application is accepted by all the courts all over India. But these courts in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai do their best to harass and make things difficult for the consumers.
 
Now do you want to know how efficient the consumer courts of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai are? Let me give you just one example of the Thane Additional Consumer Disputed Redressal Form at Belapur, Navi Mumbai.  In the last 6 years, from the year 2010 till November 2015 the Navi Mumbai Consumer Court received 1,290 complaints out of which it allowed only 859 complaints and decided only 48 complaints. That means the consumer forum is deciding only 8 cases per year.
 
District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Belapur, Navi Mumbai facts:
 
  1. Received 1,290 complaints from 2010 till November 2015 (six years).
  2. It allowed only 859 complaints out of 1,290 complaints. That means only 66.58 % of complaints were allowed and 33.42% were not even accepted.
  3. Out of 859 allowed complaints, it dismissed 240 complaints, that is, 27.93 % complaints were rejected. 
  4. Out of 859 complaints, it settled 48 complaints, which is only, 5.58% complaints in six years. It shows that only 3.7% complaints are settled per year of the total received.
  5. Out of eight settled cases, how many were in favour of consumer, the court never discloses.
 
(The data was collected by RTI query)
 
Looking at the operation cost of the consumer forums with the infrastructure and salaries of the staff you can imagine what will be the cost for settling one complaint. It will run to many lakhs. Is it worth settling one complaint for so many lakh of rupees? 
 
The cost incurred by the court to settle the complaint is many hundred times more than the relief amount claimed by the consumer.
 
We need to question the President of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission who is responsible for running the consumer forum and is directly liable for causing losses to the government and causing harassment to the consumers. Such people should be arrested and tried in court so that others in the line also learn a good lesson.
 
It means that Consumer Court is also a scam where the staff is enjoying all government benefits and giving just an output of 8 settlements every year. Now out of these eight settlements how many are in the favour of the consumer and how many against the consumer, the consumer forum has to disclose.
  
 
(Arun Saxena is President of International Consumer Rights Protection Council. www.consumergrievance.com)

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COMMENTS

manoharlalsharma

11 months ago

all government agencies whether it is State/Central including HC doing the job as their wish not to serve CITIZENS who pays from his hard arming we only elect the governments sheltering these under valued employees.

Simple Indian

11 months ago

In this day n age, where technology helps speed up things with 'smart working', it's a pity we have to follow age-old procedures like this. I hope under PM Modi's Digital India push, even Consumer Forums are digitized and enable consumers file complaints online. Rules and procedures are meant to facilitate the consumers' lodging complaints, not to shoo them away. While there's rampant corruption in lower judiciary, it's only natural that quasi-judicial bodies like the Consumer Forums are following in the same direction. Mera Bharat Mahaan !

REPLY

Meenal Mamdani

In Reply to Simple Indian 11 months ago

I heartily second your suggestion to file complaints online.

If igaveabribe.org accepts complaints online and now CM Phadnavis is making filing a FIR more digital friendly, the Consumer Courts should be the first to follow this trend of empowering the common man.

If they do not take it up promptly, then the consumers should start an online petition on Awaaz.org and present the signatures to the higher judiciary which is supposed to maintain an oversight on the Consumer Courts.

Simple Indian

11 months ago

Apart from the administrative hassles mentioned in the article, I am told the Forums in Mumbai-Thane-Navi Mumbai also ask consumers to engage lawyers to represent their case, something not mandated in the Consumer Protection Act. Wish our High Court of Bombay would take suo motu action against such 'rogue' Forums, as their actions defeat the very purpose of the laws framed for protecting consumers' rights. Maybe a PIL in the HC could help improve things.

Yogesh

11 months ago

Additionally asked me to go the lawyer to represent the case.

REPLY

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

In Reply to Yogesh 11 months ago

I have already commented on it. Consumer Court is controlled by so called "Consumer Court Advocates' Association".
As in other Courts, here Consumer Court Bar Association is not possible, since Consumer Court law encourages the consumer to represent their complaints themselves, in plain language with bills and payment details.

Yogesh

11 months ago

The study about Navi mumbai consumer court is true. I am the witness to that. I was 4-5 times denied by the officers to register a case against deficient service. The officer wanted to write in a particular manner, no word less of more, in prescribed format which has to be typed on legal paper which only one typing institute can write/know. After registering case after 4-5 attempt , finaly I came to know that , that time court is not there , i mean all jury members were not present. after 6 months all the jury memebers were present, then case started. Then jury told me to rewrite the complaint again. By this time I lost interest. left it.

REPLY

Vaibhav Dhoka

In Reply to Yogesh 11 months ago

shameful proposition to consumer.

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

11 months ago

There is Consumer Court Advocates' Assoclation in Mumbai, Thane & Navi Mumbai. This association from time to time suggests and prevail upon Consumer Courts in this area, to accept the consumer complaints in a particular formet. It is openly displayed at all the Consumer Courts, to give the consumer complaint in a particular manner, which is more or less, the format of normal court.
Even though Consumer Courts were barred from appearance of an advocates, when they were initially formed, at later dates advocates were allowed. In Mumbai, Thane & Navi Mumbai Consumer Courts, due to interference of so called Consumer Court Advocates' Association, consumer complaints are rejected, so that aggrieved consumers fall pray to this Consumer Court Advocates' lobby.

REPLY

Vaibhav Dhoka

In Reply to Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag 11 months ago

How can superior court allow quasi judicial bodies to engage in corrupt practice.

MOHAN SIROYA

11 months ago

At the outset, let us congrats the veteran activist Arun Saxena for collecting an information for this article which is indeed an eye e. However, the following statements need bak up statistics as given in case of Belapur Navi Mumbai Consumer Forum.
1. How one can know that Consumer Forums in Mumbai and Thane are also sililar?
2. How Forum at Chandigarh can be called BEST in disposal rate as no statistics are revealed ?
3 What is the Bench mark to take a Forum decision in "Favor" or "Against" the Consumer ? In normal parlance as no complainant gets the full demanded reliefs, it can be construed that even upholding a complaint in part is in "Favor".
If this is so, analysis the author serves as an answer when it is mentioned that 240 complaints were rejected or dismissed amounting to 27.93% ofhe totalcomplaints disposed.
4. Lastly Can some one also enlighten as to on what ground the PIO can deny giving information on decisions of favorable or non-favourable orders of the Forum, if such a query under RTI was made ?

Deepak

11 months ago

Consumer Forums are useless. I had lodged complain in Maharashtra State Consumer Forum against builder for late possession of my Flat(6 years!) & levying escalation charges on me & i had to pay rent from my pocket during this period. My case went on for more that one & half year & out of frustration i had to settle out of court with the builder as per his terms in order to get possession & paid as per his demand. This was the only court case in my life & i realised judiciary is of no use for common man like me.

Meenal Mamdani

11 months ago

Mr. Saxena has done a great service to all consumers by this article.

Proving the consumer court decisions malafide would be very hard. It may be better to shame the staff of the consumer court by giving wide publicity to the judgments, with names of the staff involved in the case, including the judge. Citizens could organize protests at the court to draw attention to this sorry state of affairs.

Finally a complaint to the Bombay High Court highlighting these statistics could put the consumer court staff on notice that they are under scrutiny and may shape up their behavior.

Prakash Sheth

11 months ago

Mr Saxena, there is quite a degree of truth in your anguished article. But I would suggest you to please use respectful language while referring to the President/member of a CDRF as they are constitutionally created posts, and can land you in more trouble. I would like to add to your comments by saying that the judges/members at a CDRF are, most probably by their mind-sets or by the atmosphere they have worked in, more often than none, pro-OPs, and miserably fail to realise the pain/injustice suffered by the consumer who spends his time/money/energy to approach a CDRF. The costs they grant to a successful consumer at the end of a long drawn and tiring trial, are chicken feed and are much far away from practical reality, although supreme court has in Salem Bar Advocates Association case laid down very clearly that costs must be granted and that too, realistic costs and not just symbolical or superficial costs.

REPLY

Babubhai Vaghela

In Reply to Prakash Sheth 11 months ago

http://daily.bhaskar.com/news/pil-agains...
PIL - 8 of 16 CJIs Corrupt - Kept Pending by the Next 6 Chief Justices of India. Upper Castes Males Dominated Higher Judiciary - Sovereign Authority of India - is Bloody Corrupt.

Babubhai Vaghela

In Reply to Prakash Sheth 11 months ago

Online babu-bashing no crime, SC says

Amit Choudhary | TNN | Jan 22, 2015, 04.40 AM IST

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/...

Arman Oza

11 months ago

This is not just about reducing the workload, as you have suggested. A much effective way of reducing workload would have been awarding of punitive or exemplary damages in cases where blatant deficiency in service is found. This would have served as a credible deterrent for unscrupulous service providers and resulted in less number of complaints arising. But as you know the consumer courts have chosen to be kind enough on service providers by not pronouncing such awards. So it is not about workload but it is who do you want to oblige.

REPLY

Prakash Sheth

In Reply to Arman Oza 11 months ago

I agree Mr Oza. I know of a case before South Mumbai CDRF, where the DF over-enthusiastically awarded incredible amounts to the complainant by way of costs, compensation and harrassment, because the complainant was the Additional Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai, and still is. There is also one more glaring irregularity going on in DFs and SCs. A currently sitting member in Mah.State Commission filed complaint before South Mumbai Forum against an airline, which was bound to be allowed with heavy costs. The complainant's advocate and the firm to where he belonged, regularly appear before the same sitting member in the Mah.State Commission. Will the said member not oblige the South Mumbai Forum, when an appeal against SMF order is placed before him? Will the said member not oblige the said advocate and his firm, when they appear before him?

Vaibhav Dhoka

11 months ago

One is surprised how high court or Supreme court overlook such on goings in consumer forums mentioned.In fact most quasi judicial forums enjoy at cost of taxpayers money post retirement.They must be made answerable or government should constitute inquiry and impound perks for failure to do duty.

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Did you come across a Facebook post claiming that Mark Zuckerberg would be giving away 10 percent of his Facebook shares to "people like you and me" if you could just share the same status on your Wall? Well, that's a hoax, Tech Insider reported.
 
This came after Facebook CEO's announcement in late November that he and his wife Priscilla would be giving away nearly all of their Facebook shares to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC.
 
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"All you have to do is copy and paste this message into a post IMMEDIATELY. At midnight PST, Facebook will search through the day's post and award 1000 people with $4.5 million each as a way of saying thank you for making Facebook such a powerful vehicle for connection."
 
Before copy-pasting a status, it's worth quickly googling to make sure you are not being duped.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article. 

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Aviation waited in wings for a new policy
The grand scheme, however, still hangs in the balance and awaits the union cabinet's approval
 
If the revival of an airline and return to profitability of some others marked the highlights in 2015 in Indian aviation, the year also went by without the government spelling out its long-awaited policy for the sector.
 
All that the civil aviation ministry managed in the last 19 months was to come up with a draft national civil aviation policy (NCAP) which, nonetheless, has some far-reaching implications.
 
Among the proposals is one to scrap the 5/20 norm, which stipulates a minimum five years of operations and a fleet of 20 aircraft for oversees flying rights, and to peg a minimum tariff of no more than Rs.2,500 per ticket for each flying-hour.
 
The grand scheme, however, still hangs in the balance and awaits the union cabinet's approval.
 
"Draft NCAP has contemplated many interesting proposals to promote growth in the aviation sector," Amber Dubey, partner and head of aerospace and defence at global consultancy KPMG, told IANS.
 
"Its vision to enable 300 million domestic ticketing by 2022, although ambitious, highlights the potential of the Indian aviation sector."
 
In addition, aviation was among 15 industries in which foreign equity norms were eased in the year gone by.
 
Moreover, India's passenger traffic demand grew at a stellar pace.
 
Official data from the Ministry of Civil Aviation showed that passengers carried by domestic airlines between January and November 2015 grew by 20.41 percent at 73,382,000.
 
Sector-based experts pointed out that low crude oil prices helped to bring down fares which supported the rise in passenger traffic.
 
"Aviation fuel makes up for 30 percent of the cost of running an airline, at record low levels, airfares have reduced which in turn has led to the increased passenger load that we see today," Rajiv Chib, director for aerospace and defence with PwC, told IANS.
 
Besides fares, lower oil prices gave a jolt of fortune to the sector which till a year back was reeling under heavy losses on account of expensive jet fuel.
 
"Whenever fuel cost as a percentage of total cost falls near or below the 40 percent level, airlines start reporting profits. Further, oil price reduction leads to a tempering of the airfares which stimulates demand, thus increasing load factors of airlines," Kuljit Singh, partner for infrastructure practice at EY, told IANS.
 
For the industry the year saw the dramatic turnaround of one of the country's earliest budget carriers - SpiceJet - what with another having crashed towards bankruptcy led by industrialist Vijay Mallya.
 
The crashing budget airline was piloted back into a stable financial trajectory by one of its co-founders, Ajay Singh, who bought out the stake of erstwhile promoter Kalanithi Maran and KAL Airways earlier in the year.
 
Under his leadership the airline soon recovered lost ground, garnered fresh funding, posted three consecutive quarters of profit and is in the process to augment capacity.
 
The airline set new benchmarks in Indian aviation by achieving over 90 percent load factor (PLF) for seven consecutive months since May and reported the highest PLF amongst its peers for the last nine months.
 
"The biggest reason behind SpiceJet's revival is the hands-on approach of the new owner-cum-CMD Ajay Singh. He understands the industry and the airline inside out," Dubey elaborated.
 
"His presence brought in a lot of confidence to passengers, employees, lenders and suppliers."
 
The company's scrip price appreciated by 379 percent from Rs.13.9 on December 16, 2014, to Rs.66.55 on December 16, 2015.
 
Jet Airways too showed a marked recovery as the company recorded two consecutive profitable quarters after a gap of eight years.
 
But IndiGo was the one which landed with big bucks thanks to its grand initial public offer (IPO) during the just concluded year.
 
The company's Rs.3,018 crore IPO became the biggest in nearly three years on the Indian exchanges and marked an over-subscription by 4.95 times.
 
"Listing of IndiGo is a great development for the industry as this will ultimately benefit airlines such as Spicejet, Go Air, to raise capital which they may urgently need to grow, to pay down debt and to consolidate their operations," Singh said.
 
The financial turnaround did not stop with just private players, even Air India made headlines by announcing that it expects to post an operating profit of Rs.6 crore for the current fiscal.
 
"Lower fuel prices, aircraft availability, increased cabin manpower, aggressive marketing and promotions coupled with improved operational performance are the factors contributing to its growth," Chib cited.
 
Nevertheless, the rainbow weather was disrupted with concerns over exceptionally high fares that even had Prime Minister Narendra Modi worried!
 
Other incidents, like the flip-flop over the status of a proposed new airport in the National Capital Region (NCR) showed a power tussle between the senior and junior minister, who run the show at the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan which houses the civil aviation ministry.
 
But the real bolt from the blue came in from of the fair business practices regulator -- the Competition Commission of India (CCI) which penalised Jet Airways, IndiGo and SpiceJet for indulging in anti-competitive practices.
 
Nonetheless, all three airlines that time said that they were considering challenging the order.
 
Highlights of 2015:
 
* Government comes out with a draft civil aviation policy
 
* Among many proposals is one to scrap the 5/20 norm
 
* Policy aims at pegging a minimum tariff for each flying-hour
 
* Policy on hold awaits cabinet's approval
 
* Passenger traffic grows by 20.41 percent during January-November
 
* Sliding crude oil prices lowered fares and strengthened airlines balance sheets
 
* Dramatic turnaround of SpiceJet under industrialist Ajay Singh
 
* IndiGo's Rs.3,018 crore IPO oversubscribed
 
* Air India hopeful of posting an operating profit of Rs.6 crore
 
* Flip-flop over the status of a proposed new airport near Delhi
 
* CCI penalises airlines for indulging in anti-competitive practices.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article. 

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