The Union government has notified the Consumer Protection (Jurisdiction of the District Commission, the State Commission and the National Commission) Rules, 2021. Under the revision, the district commission can entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services paid as consideration does not exceed Rs50 lakh. The limit for the state commission is reduced to Rs2 crore.
In a release, the ministry of consumer affairs, food & public distribution says, "After the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force, it was observed that the existing provisions relating to pecuniary jurisdiction of consumer commissions were leading to cases which could earlier be filed in the national commission to be diverted to the state commissions and cases which could earlier be filed in state commissions to be diverted in turn to the district commissions. This caused a significant increase in the workload of the district commissions, leading to a rise in pendency and delay in the disposal of cases, defeating the very purpose of securing speedy redressal to consumers as envisaged under the Act."
As per the new pecuniary jurisdiction, district commissions will have the jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services paid as consideration does not exceed Rs50 lakh. "State commissions shall have the jurisdiction to consider complaints where the value of the goods or services paid as consideration exceeds Rs50 lakh but does not exceed Rs2 crore. The national commission shall have the jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services paid as consideration exceeds Rs2 crore," the ministry says.
The Consumer Protection Act had stipulated the pecuniary jurisdiction for all three commissions. District commissions had the jurisdiction to entertain complaints with a value not exceeding Rs1 crore, while the state commissions had the jurisdiction to consider complaints from Rs1 crore to Rs10 crore. The national commission was allowed to entertain complaints where the value of goods or services paid as consideration exceeded Rs10 crore.
It may be mentioned that the Consumer Protection Act stipulates that every complaint should be disposed as expeditiously as possible. Endeavour should be made to resolve the complaint within three months from the date of receipt of notice by the opposite party where the complaint does not require analysis or testing of commodities. If the complaint involves analysis or testing of commodities, then it should be decided within five months.
The Act also provides the consumers with the option of filing a complaint electronically. To facilitate consumers in filing their complaint online, the Union government has set up the E-Daakhil portal
, which provides a hassle-free, speedy and inexpensive facility to consumers around the country to conveniently approach the relevant consumer forum, dispensing with the need to travel and be physically present to file their grievance.
E-Daakhil has many features like e-Notice, case document download link and link for virtual hearing, filing written response by the opposite party, filing rejoinder by complainant and alerts via SMS or email. At present, the facility of E-Daakhil is available in 544 consumer commissions, which include the national commission and consumer commissions in 21 states and three Union Territories (UTs). So far, more than 10,000 cases have been filed using the E-Daakhil portal and more than 43,000 users have registered on the portal.
The Consumer Protection Act also includes a reference of consumer disputes to mediation, with the consent of both parties. “This will save time and money for the parties involved in litigating the dispute, but will also aid in reducing the overall pendency of cases,” the ministry says.