Consumers pay a price for redressing their grievances
By Shalet Jimmy / ENS - KOCHI
09th August 2012 11:10 AM
The Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (KSCDRC) seems to have conveniently shoved off to the back burner the very essence of its existence. Though it was formed for speedy redressing of grievances, the overburdened court fee is causing a headache for consumers who approach the commission.According to sources, complainants used to have easy access to the commission just by writing their grievances through postcards.
But the process underwent a change with the amendment that a complainant has to pay an amount ranging from `300 to `500 as court fee. The sources said that the court fee was introduced by the government saying that it is to meet the stationery requirements of the commission. However, not only do consumers have to pay the court fee, they have to pay for stamps, too.
Kerala Human Rights Defence Forum state general secretary D B Binu said that paying for stamps is definitely not cited in the rule. “The authorities have conveniently forgotten that many consumers find it difficult to make both ends meet,” he said. Binu added that several criticisms raised against this move fell on deaf ears. “The government is ditching the common man by taking away the revenue garnered from collecting the court fee,” he said.
There are also many consumers completely unaware of the fact that they have to pay for the stamps as well. Therefore, the complaints registered by the consumers are stuck in the registry of the administrative wing of the KSCDRC. “Since stamps are not mandatory, complaints filed without a lawyer’s help, which will not bear stamps, will be stuck in the registry,” he said.
Abdulla Zona, president-in-charge of the KSCDRC state commission, confirmed that paying for stamp duties is not mandatory. “It is actually charged by the lawyers. We will soon formulate a measure to put a strict ban on it,” he said
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