Are the District Consumer Courts effective?
A reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application has revealed the details of vacancies in the consumer courts in Tamilnadu. As per the information obtained from the Registrar of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, at least 19 of 30 District Consumer Courts have been functioning without the mandatory two members. As per the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, each consumer forum should consist of a judge and two members and for deciding a case, the quorum for a bench must consist of at least one judge and one member. Therefore, if two members are absent the quorum would be incomplete to decide the case. Currently, there is only one member in the following District Consumer Forums and two member posts are lying vacant - Chennai (North), Cuddalore, Dindigul, Erode, Karur, Madurai, Nagapattinam, Perambalur, Ramanathapuram, Salem, Sivagangai, Sri Villiputhur, Thanjavur, Tiruvallur,Tiruvannamalai, Tiruvarur, Vellore, Villupuram and Pudukottai. Further, in eight districts, the consumer forums have just one member apart from the judge. Thus, in case the single member fails to turn up, the quorum of the bench would not be complete and no case could be taken up for hearing. It has also been reported that the tenure of the judges in the district Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission at Theni, Tiruvallur, Nagerkoil, Nagapattinam and Salem would end.