High Court of Bombay at Goa: Stating that the State Administration comprises several IAS Officers, the least expected out of them is to find the solution to problems, so that State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission functions effectively, The Division Bench of M.S. Sonak and R.N. Laddha, JJ., directed the State of Goa to ensure that the post of President and 3 other members of the Commission which are vacant be filled expeditiously.
The instant petition highlighted an extremely unfortunate situation in which the very functioning of a State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has been brought to a virtual standstill on account of inordinate delay in filling up the post of the President and three of its four members.
It has been stated the Commission has been running with one member for the past 15 months.
The affidavit filed by Sudhir Kerkar, Director & Ex-officio Joint Secretary (Department of Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs), Government of Goa portrays only difficulties and no serious efforts to resolve the same.
Consumer Protection Act clearly requires the State Government to constitute such a Commission and to create circumstances conducive to its effective functioning. This statutory duty cannot be shirked by putting forth several difficulties, most of which are quite routine and easily surmountable, High Court expressed.
High Court directed the State of Goa to ensure that the post of President and the post of three members, which are lying vacant at the Commission are filled in accord with law as expeditiously as possible and, in any case.
Bench stated that,
“…this time we expect the Chief Secretary of the State of Goa to personally look into this matter and ensure that not only the mandate of the statute but also this writ of mandamus, which we are issuing, is complied with within three months from today”
The matter has been posted for 1-3-2022, by which date the first compliance report will have to be filed. [Dr D.J. De Souza v. State of Goa, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 190, decided on 28-1-2022]
Advocates before the Court:
Petitioner in person.
Mr. Deep Shirodkar, Additional Government Advocate for Respondent Nos. 1 and 2.