I HAVE FILED A CONSUMER CASE IN CHENNAI 2 AND HALF YEARS AGO. THE CASE HAS BEEN PROLONGED WITHOUT DISPOSAL FOR THE PAST 2 AND HALF YEARS. IS THERE ANY TIME LIMIT FOR DISPOSAL. FOR THE UNDUE DELAY CAN WE REPRESENT OUR GRIEVANCE TO COURT. PLEASE ADVISE
Section 13(3-A) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, lays down as under:
“(3-A) Every complaint shall be heard as expeditiously as possible and endeavour shall be made to decide the complaint within a period of three months from the date of receipt of notice by opposite party where the complaint does not require analysis or testing of commodities and within five months, if it requires analysis or testing of commodities:
Provided that no adjournment shall be ordinarily granted by the District Forum unless sufficient cause is shown and the reasons for grant of adjournment have been recorded in writing by the Forum:
Provided further that the District Forum shall make such orders as to the costs occasioned by the adjournment as may be provided in the regulations made under this Act:
Provided also that in the event of a complaint being disposed of after the period so specified, the District Forum shall record in writing, the reasons for the same at the time of disposing of the said complaint.”
Same provision applies to proceedings before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
Thus, ordinarily a consumer case is required to be disposed of within a period of 3 to 5 months. However, the provision itself makes it clear that it is only the expected time period and sincere efforts have to be made to dispose of consumer cases within this period.
But, in practice, due to a large number of consumer cases which are filed and due to insufficient strength of consumer courts which have been set up, and other procedural delays, generally it is not possible to dispose of cases in the above stipulated periods and there are huge delays. The amount of delay in disposal of cases differs from place to place. You can find out from the consumer forum where your case is pending as to how much is the usual delay in that specific consumer forum. You may request the forum to expedite your case citing whatever peculiar difficulties you are facing, but it depends on the pendency in that forum whether the forum would be able to expedite your case.
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