Consumers now will be able to appeal to the District Consumer Forum for cases involving compensation up to one crore rupees. For this, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution have increased the rights of the District Consumer Forum. At the same time, the Ministry has given more power to the consumers who are fighting a legal battle against the company and businessmen selling the product by making false claims.
At present, consumers have the right to appeal for cases involving compensation up to twenty lakh rupees in the District forum. For this amount, the consumers have to approach the State Forum presently. According to the new rules made on the order of the Supreme Court, any party has been given the right to appeal only once. If the company or businessman loses a complaint in the district forum, then they can only complaint in the State Forum.
Appeals against the decision of the State Forum will not be filed in the National Forum and Supreme Court of Delhi. Consumers can file a complaint in the District Forum if they lack the quality of the goods or do not get the services and products as per the advertisement claim. Earlier such cases were not heard in the District Forum. If the complaint is found to be true, the guilty company and businessman can be sentenced to five years in jail or a fine of up to ten lakh rupees.
In another important change if a consumer has purchased a product on a lesser or a discounted price then the same would be claimed at the time of compensation rather than the previous parameter of the total value of goods and service.
District Consumer Forum member Dr. Narayan Bhagat said that on the orders of the Supreme Court, the Ministry has changed the rules. New rules will come into force soon.
The new rules have given more authority to the District consumer forums. The Consumer Protection Bill has introduced a host of changes to empower the consumers. One of the most important changes is to increase the powers of the district consumer forum along with many other changes.