Supreme Court Eases Appointment Rules for State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions

Mainstream
08-Mar-2024
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In a significant decision, the Supreme Court has waived the requirement for a written examination and viva voce for the appointment of the President of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions. The bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, reasoned that since only retired High Court judges are eligible for the role, subjecting them to such tests is akin to a retired Supreme Court judge taking an environmental law paper before heading the National Green Tribunal.

The court emphasized the impracticality of conducting written exams for retired High Court judges and, therefore, relaxed this requirement. However, the appointment of the President to the State Commission must still receive concurrence from the Chief Justice of the respective High Court.

The ruling emerged from a case related to the appointment of Presidents and members of consumer forums nationwide. Addressing District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, the court expressed concern that relaxing the written exam requirement at this level could lead to a "backdoor entry for lawyers." It suggested the central government draft proposed rules before further hearings, emphasizing fairness and transparency in appointments to district forums.

The court directed the Centre to present proposals for amending rules governing appointments to district forums, emphasizing the need for a clear, transparent process to prevent undue discretion. This decision underscores the court's commitment to ensuring a fair and structured selection process for individuals appointed to vital consumer dispute redressal roles.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University