‘Why create posts…”: SC slams states on consumer panel vacancies

New Delhi:- The Supreme Court on Wednesday took strong objection at vacancies in state consumer disputes redressal commissions, saying that the states are defeating laws enacted for welfare of people.

What is purpose of creating posts and not filling them, it said, asking all states and Union Territories to fill all vacancies within a period of eight weeks.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy, while hearing counsel for various state governments, remarked: “Are you waiting for an auspicious occasion to take steps.

“We just want persons in positions. States defeating laws enacted for welfare of people. What is purpose of creating posts and not manning them?”

The bench noted it appears that some of the states and UTs have not even set up selection committees, and directed it should be done within 4 weeks.

It added that all states should notify rules within two weeks and if there are large number of vacancies, then “we direct that all vacancies be advertised within two weeks”.

All vacancies, whether be the post for chairman or members, should be filled within 8 weeks from Wednesday, it said.

The bench also asked the Centre to fill vacancies in national consumer commissions, noting that there are seven vacancies at the national forum.

“If we have asked states, we must ask Centre too. You (Centre) raise hopes, aspirations that grievances of public will be addressed..”.

The bench directed all state secretaries to notify the rules in two weeks.

“We are not giving extensions. Enough time was given to set houses in order. Time will be fixed now.”

It said that if rules are not notified in two weeks, then model rules made by Centre will automatically apply for the respective commissions.

The bench noted that as per Section 42 of the Consumer Protection Act, each state commission consists of a chairman and not less than four members.

The top court passed these directions in its suo motu case regarding the inaction of the governments in appointing president and members/staff of districts and state consumer disputes redressal commission and inadequate infrastructure across India.