Consumer Courts Delayed in Delivering Justice

In order to achieve this, Consumer Commissions were established at the National, State, and District levels for Consumer dispute resolution. These Commissions were created to provide consumers with a cost-effective and rapid dispute resolution. In the past, they were unable to achieve the same results due to the inefficiency and procedural complexity of the traditional civil court system. It was safe to assume that the excess vacancies, the delay in disposing of the cases, and the high pendency resulting from them had defeated the whole purpose of the Act.

To combat this, the Central Government has introduced the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, which will eliminate the complexities of the previous Act. This Act dealt with the E-Commerce regulations and established a central regulatory authority for the same. The changes made to respond to the concerns of consumers in the ever-changing marketplace did not have any effect on the problems relating to the efficiency and functioning of Consumer Commissions.

The 2019 Act also imposed a change to the monetary jurisdiction to evaluate consumer complaints according to their value. These were the finalized values:

The District Commissions up to 50 Lakhs

State Commission – More than 50 Lakhs up to 2 Crore

National Commission – More than two crores

While the revised pecuniary jurisdiction does accept consumer complaints with a value exceeding two crores as opposed to the previous limit of 10 crores, without time-bound procedures for the same, it is possible that the complaints filed by consumers seeking justice could be lost causes.

Justice denied is justice delayed.

The maxim “Justice delayed is Justice denied” seems to be an understatement now, given the thousands of cases that are still pending and lakhs of victims who suffer due to delayed justice. According to the Apex Consumer Forum, the average time between two hearings is three months. However, the Consumer Protection Act only allows 90 days to appeal. The National Commission is a body that does not offer an alternative for consumers but rather waits until the case has been heard. There are many reasons for this delay. These include the use of cumbersome processes, the adoption of dilatory techniques, the grounds for the government not filling up vacancies in Consumer Forums, or the complaints of advocates seeking year-long adjournments. The consumers have become the victims of the ineffective functioning of the justice system. The Supreme Court extended the retirement period of its members and chairman due to the current situation. This proved ineffective.

It’s unfair to the litigants when the Courts continue to extend the dates and the cases pile up. In many cases, the cost of filing and contesting the claim is greater than the compensation the litigants are seeking or receiving. When the delay is critical, and the litigants can’t afford to pay for the Counsel fees, they give up the compensation amount. This defeats the purpose of filing the complaint.

The Consumer Courts must stop adjournments made at the convenience of counsels. There are usually 7 to 8 adjournments in a case. This delays the decision-making process and allows the parties time to influence each other, which can lead the whole process into a mess. The lack of technical knowledge when dealing with insurance or finance cases also requires that the bench adjudicates according to the complexity of the case. Otherwise, there could be a delay, or the adjudication might not be standard.

Unless time-bound proceedings are in place, the Pecuniary Jurisdiction may be lost. The change to the monetary jurisdiction eases the burden of the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission but increases the responsibility for the lower forum, the District Commission. In reality, District Commissions often lack the technical support and court staff that other commissions have. This can lead to a lower rate of resolution of consumer disputes, which may affect the goal of the revised legislation.

The National Commission, or State Commission, is required to follow the procedure laid out in Section 38 of the Consumer Protection Act of 2019, which states that upon receipt of the complaint, the other party will be granted 30 days, plus an additional 15 days that the District Forum, or Commission, may contribute to allow them to respond to the notice. The written statement must be submitted within 45 days, as stated. Otherwise, the goal of having the cases resolved within 3 to 5 months would not be achieved.

In the case of JJ Merchant and Others v. Shrinath Chaturvedi, the Supreme Court laid down five essential steps to ensure that issues were resolved within statutory limits. The National Commission and State Commission were also advised to take action on this. In the case of JJ Merchant and Others V. Shrinath Chaturvedi, the Supreme Court laid out five steps to ensure that issues are resolved within the legal time limit. The National Commission and State Commission were also advised to act on this.

– Evidence, such as documents or affidavits on which the parties intend to rely, must accompany the complaint.

A delayed justice case is another example where a complaint for medical negligence was filed in 1998 with the State Commission but was dismissed after five years. The compensation was seven lakhs. The patient (Complainant), however, died before the decision was made.


Due to the high rate of cases pending, the lack of trust in the justice system can be completely eroded by litigants whose claims are of relatively lower value. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a cost-effective, quick, and cheap way to resolve cases. This would be a good strategy to consider for resolving consumer complaints. It would also reduce the burden of the Consumer Commissions, allowing them to use a more effective and suitable mechanism to resolve disputes. Mediation is one form of Alternative Dispute Resolution that can be used, especially in cases where the Consumer Courts have been unable to resolve the conflict for over five years. It may also prove to be effective because it is fair, inexpensive, and quicker than a complaint filed with a Consumer Court. This provision has been included in the Act. This resolution method can help reduce backlogs by avoiding delays and disposing of the cases within the prescribed time.

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