> Introduction

       The historic words of Mahatma Gandhi where he put the consumer as the focal point of our developmental efforts pointing out that consumer is the most important person and John F. Kennedy, the then President of the United States had also informed the U.S. Congress in 1962 about the consumers rights and said that “consumers, by definition INCLUDE US ALL.” But the views of the consumers are often not heard. He made a declaration of four basic consumer rights, namely:-

  • The right to safety
  • The right to information
  • The right to choice, and
  • The right to representation

       Thereafter, the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted on 24.12.1986, which is an innovation in the Indian context to provide better protection to the interest of the consumers and for that purpose to make provision for the establishment of Consumer Courts for the settlement of consumer disputes and matters of connected therewith. It is a milestone in the history of socio-economic legislation which has two fold purposes, first, to provide better protection to the consumers and second, to provide speedy, inexpensive and just Redressal of their grievances. The most important feature of this act is the provision of setting up three-tier quasi-judicial machinery viz. the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (in short ‘District Forum’) at the District level, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (in short ‘State Commission’) at State level and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (in short ‘National Commission’) at Center level. The pecuniary jurisdiction/power for deciding the complaint upto Rs.20.00 lacs has been entertained by the District Fora, from Rs.20.00 lacs to Rs.1.00 crore entertained by the State Commission and above Rs.1.00 crore the power vested by the Hon’ble National Commission. Time frame for deciding the cases has been prescribed under Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act..