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Lack of faith on judiciary system sees a decline in filing consumer complaints

Image Source: maansarovarlawcentre.com

By Anirudh Saligrama

Bangalore, Sept 29: Lack of faith on consumer forum delivering justice witnesses decline in number of complaints being filed over last three years.

Across the five consumer forums in Bangalore, between January and August 2016, 1222 cases were filed. .

The above graph shows across the five consumer forums in Bangalore, 2596 cases were filed in 2012. 2902 cases were filed in 2013. The graph shows a decline in number of cases being filed wherein 2003 cases were filed in 2014. 2003 cases were filed in 2015 and during January-August 2016, 1222 cases were filed.


Why consumers are not interested to file complaints?

Mr. Jaya Prakash (35) said, “I wanted to file a case against an insurance company, but I have decided to recall my decision as I learnt that I will have to wait for 120 days for the first hearing if I file a complaint today.”

Mr. Vijay Kamath (30) who also wanted to file a complaint against an insurance company said, “I escalated to higher authorities of the company yesterday. I still wanted to file a case against them for harassment. But I saw a positive reply from the company and decided not file a case and wait for months for first hearing.”


Reason for delay in hearing:

Smt.G.T.Vijayalakshmi, member at Karnataka State Consumer Redressal Dispute Commission (KSCRDC) at Basava Bhavan said, “Most of the time, the complainants do not turn up and/or not interested to pursue their complaints further. Also the company on whom the case is registered do not provide details for contesting against the complainant due to which the cases are pending. This makes the consumer often lose interest and they don’t file the complaint."

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986, allows the complainant to appear personally or to be represented by advocate in the consumer.

"However we have witnessed an increase in the number of cases being disposed in recent times since the average number of cases that is tried every day in one courtroom is about 150-170 cases from 50-60 cases in previous year,” Vijaylakshmi added.


Expert Speaks:

Y.G Muralidharan, founder of Consumer Rights Education and Awareness Trust (CREAT) said, “The Consumer Protection Act today, is not really an Ideal law. The procedure in which the forum’s are functioning has dissatisfied the people due to several complexities. Secondly there are several Alternative options which is improved such as ombudsman for banking, insurance, electricity and more wherein they look at complaints only for the specific category and that they are not bombarded with all the types of complaints. Earlier, people used to file a case in consumer complaint first. But now they approach ombudsman as they find their complaints are resolved quickly.”


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