The State Government of Andhra Pradesh had blown its own trumpet on the progressive steps initiated and the mass awareness said to have been created by it in setting-up Consumer Clubs in various educational institutions for enlightening the basic rights of consumers from the school going age itself to have a salutary effect. Besides, it has made tall claims about the training camps being imparted to voluntary organizations for spreading the message of consumer movement. However, the ground realities are found to be in contrast to the loud proclamations made by it . The Ranga Reddy District Consumers’ Forum has been housed in a small hired building in a very interior location in Dilsukhnagar of Hyderabad which is not easily accessible where even basic seating/drinking water/toilet facilities for the complainants are lacking. Based on my own harrowing experience, I had suggested to make some improvements in my letter dated 26th September, 2004 to Bhanwar Lal, the then Civil Supplies Commissioner of A.P. and the same has not even been acknowledged by him. Some of my suggestions are listed below:-
(i) Large Bilingual Boards—Both in English and Telugu on the procedural formalities (step by step in a sequential order) required to be taken are to be displayed at the entrance itself.
(ii) Model Application---a format to be devised incorporating therein the main features/contents with para-wise captions and also the time limit fixed for filing complaints. (A priced brochure containing all the essential details can be evolved)
(iii) Application Fee—A/c Payee Order/DD to be taken on whose name and the amount specified.
(iv) Affidavit—Model Proforma to be attested by a Notary
(v) How to obtain judgment copy/additional copies especially in case of complainants who are not Local Residents—procedure for obtaining additional certified copies
(vi) Encouraging the complainants to plead their own cases in stead of depending on Advocates who are exploiting and fleecing the complainants. It has been observed that a group of Advocates are acting like touts lobbying in the court premises to attract the gullible public and pressurizing the complainants to entrust the cases to them claiming that they are specialized in consumer law. It has also been noticed that there is a nexus between the court staff and the Advocates and the former are acting as their agents and persuading the complainants to hand over the cases to their coterie.
(vii) A help desk is to be provided in each Consumer Court for proper guidance
(viii) Setting-up Complaint Box and speedy investigation and redressal of genuine grievances
(ix) Advance action to fill up the posts of Members and President fallen vacant after the expiry of their term. As most of these postings are dependent on political considerations and loyalty to the ruling party, the appointments are inexcusably delayed bringing the work to a grinding halt. During the change of guards when TDP Govt. lost in the last general elections and Congress (I) came into power, the work in RR Dist Consumer Court was held up for months due to lack of quorum and I was one of the worst sufferers as I was forced to make several trips from New Delhi to Hyderabad.
(x) The address on the envelope written both by RR Dist consumer court and the State Consumer Grievances Commission, Khairtabad, Hyderabad was “incomplete “ in many respects ( perhaps deliberately and intentionally done by the court staff to ensure that the court communications does not reach the petitioner at Delhi so that the case can be decided ex-parte in favour of the Opposite Party) leading to a serious suspicion that the court staff are in league/cahoots with the Opposite Party who happened to be a prominent Real Estate Developer. Even after reporting this grave blunder on the part of the RR Dist Court and State Commission, no action was taken against the erring/delinquent staff.
To my chagrin, I was forced to make fruitless visits to the State Commission to obtain a copy of the judgment as the same reportedly could not be dictated for a long time ostensibly due to lack of stenographic assistance. When a copy of the Order could finally be collected (F.A.No.1406/2004 against C.D.No.62/2004 Dist.Consumer Forum, Rangareddy Dt.), the amount deposited by the Opp. Party in the District Court could not be given as the President of the Forum did not sign the cheque for a long time as he was preoccupied with the marriage preparations of his son based in US. As a last resort, when the matter was brought to the notice of Registrar, State Commission and only with his intervention the cheque could be issued to me after unjustified delay. All the while, I had to stay in a lodge in Hyderabad incurring huge expenditure. It is therefore prudential to fix a time frame to deliver the judgment copies and the deposits made by the Opp. Party to mitigate the sufferings and woes of the complainants.
In a case CD330 of 15-3-2005 between my son, S.L. Narasimha Rao, Flat No.510 (Fifth Floor), Mafar’s Residency (SMG), Behind Dr Jai Bhushan Hospital, Mehdipatnam, Hyderabad-500028 and the Andhra Pradesh Housing Board (APHB), it was decided in favour of my son by the Dist.Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-III, Hyderabad on 27-3-07 for refund of Rs.15,000/- stating that collection of huge amount of Rs.15,000/- as name registration fee and not refundable amounts to unfair trade practices committed by the APHB. However, the APHB filed an appeal against the verdict given by the Nampally Dist. Forum-III in the State Commission. Instead of deciding such petty cases on a war-footing basis for speedy disposal, it is learnt that the case would now drag on endlessly in the State Commission for several years as it is said to have been burdened with many piled up cases prior to this still pending in the State Commission waiting for their turn.
Many of the favourable decisions given by the Consumer Court, Qutab Enclave, New Delhi were not implemented disregarding the Orders issued by them as scrap of waste paper. Even reputed NBFCs like Mc.Dowel Finance of Vijay Mallya of King Fisher fame (illegally transferred the company to Chennai based Krest Lease Fin.Co.) EBF Finance floated by Rajaratnam, take over King of Coimbatore, DCM Finance of Lala Bharat Ram and Charat Ram Group have failed to make refund of the life savings of small depositors despite ordered by the Consumer Court in Delhi.
The ails plaguing the Civil and Criminal Courts in this country have already spread fast and wide to the Consumer Courts also and the hopes of common man for a quick-fix solution have been belied. Unless prompt remedial measures are taken to put an end to this malaise, a day is not far-off that people’s faith in the Consumer Courts shall also be undermined and eroded.

Samrajyam Srinivasa Rao, M.Sc.(Ag.)
DDA MIG Flat No.631
Sector-8, Pocket-C/8
Rohini, DELHI-110085, INDIA.

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