State Commission Under Consumer Protection Act – Composition and Powers

STATE COMMISSION UNDER THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT-  COMPOSITION AND POWERS

The consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted in the year 1986, This act was brought into force to protect the rights of the consumers from malpractices and wrongdoings by the business and also to protect them from get exploited.

The consumer Protection Act is considered as the great step taken towards, to safeguard the interest of the consumers in India.

Who is a Consumer?

The Consumer Protection Act , Defines the term Consumer. According to this Act, a consumer is a person , who buys goods or hires any service.

Consumer Protection Redressal Agencies

The Consumer Protection Act, has established three redressal Agencies,

  • Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum, to be known as “District Forum”.
  • Consumer District Redressal Commission, to be known as “The State Commission”
  • National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, known as “The National Commission”

The State Commission – Composition and Power

Every State has a State Commission under, Consumer Protection Act and according to Section-17 of this Act, the pecuniary jurisdiction of the State Commission states that the complaints and issues where the value of goods or services and the value of the compensation claim may exceed to Rs. 20 lakhs it should be less than Rs. 1 crore.

Composition of the State Commission

The State Commission shall consist, the following-

  1. A President, who is or has been a judge of a High Court and he shall be appointed by the State Government and
  2. Two other members, out of which one of them shall be women. The two members shall have the following qualification.
  • Members should not less than 35 years of age.
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university.
  • Be persons of ability, integrity and standing, and have adequate knowledge and experience of at least ten years in dealing with problems relating to economics, law, accountancy, commerce, public affairs, industry or administration.
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It is provided that 50% of the members should have judicial background.

Disqualifications of Members

A person shall be disqualified for appointment as member,if he:

  • Has been sentenced for imprisonment or convicted for an offence or,
  • Is an insolvent or,
  • Is of unsound mind or,
  • Has been removed from service from government or,
  • Has such other disqualifications as may be prescribe by the State Government.

Appointment of Members

  1. Every appointment that is stated above must be made by the State Government on the recommendations of the Selection Committee consisting of the following:-
  • The President of the State Commission is considered as the Chairman;
  • Secretary, Law Department of the State- Member; and
  • Secretary, in charge of the department dealing with consumer Affairs of the state -member.

When , the President has not constituted a Bench comprising of a single member , a single member does not have the authority to allocation of any business to itself under , the Consumer Protection Act.

Establishment  of Benches-

The jurisdiction, powers of state commission may be exercised by Benches,

A bench may be constituted by the president , with one or more than one member. The provision of more benches has been introduced by the Consumer Protection Act, 2002.

Salary and Terms of Service

  • The salary and other allowances payable to the members and their other terms of service, shall be such as may prescribed, by the State Government.
  • Every member of the state shall hold the office for a tenure of 5 years or upto the age of 67 years, whichever is the earlier.
  • A member shall be eligible for re-appointment of another term of 5 years or upto the age of 67 years.
  • A member may resign his office in writing by addressing it to the State Government . His vacancy may be filled as per the above mention procedure.

In the case of,  Justice Debendra Mohan Patnaik v. State of Orissa, the question came out  that , related to the reduction of salary of the President of the State Commission, to the extent of pension he received as retired judge of High Court . Holding the reduction as illegal and a constitutional infraction in view of Article 221(2) of the constitution of India, the Odisha High observed , that pension is not a bounty but it is a part of one’s owns earning , which is retained and given after superannuation as per rules and thus indefeasible right is created. The right cannot be taken away or abridge in any manner in course of a subsequent employment unless statute under which the employment is made specifically provide such abridgement .

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Jurisdiction of the State Commission

  1. Pecuniary Jurisdiction- This refers that the , State shall entertain those complain, where the value of goods and services and compensation, claimed exceeds Rupees 20 Lakhs , but does not exceed 1 crore.

Before the Amendment Act, 2002 , the jurisdiction was from above 5 lakhs. There will be a lesser number of direct complaints by , increase in the amount of the jurisdiction.

  1. To entertain appeal, against the orders of any Direct Forum within the State and also,
  2. To call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any customer dispute , which is pending before or has been decided by any District Forum, within the State. Such power can be exercised where it appears to the State commission that such direct Forum has exercised a Jurisdiction not vested in it by law or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested , or has acted in exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.

Conclusion

The Consumer Protection Act, has protected customers/consumers from getting exploited by  huge traders and companies. The Consumer Protection Act has proved to be a helping hand for the consumers. Under the Consumer Protection Act, there are six rights , which protect the consumers from getting exploited by hazardous goods , also to get right information about the product , to choose the right product. Most importantly , the consumer needs to be careful and aware of the product and services which they are availing.

Author: Beas Sain,
IFIM Law School , 2nd Year - BBA LLB / Student

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