New Delhi: Taking note of a delay in redressal of consumer complaints due to dearth of judges in the consumer courts, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs has decided to simplify the norms for appointment of judges to the Consumer Courts and implicit more authority to the chairman of district consumer forums. 

According to the proposal of the Ministry, the members of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) should be provided with all the service conditions and facilities meant for judges of High Courts.

Further easing the procedure of appointment of the members, the Ministry has proposed for the participation of consumer affairs experts as the co-members in the commission.

Due to the vacant positions of chairman in huge numbers in district consumer forums across the country, large numbers of consumer cases are pending in these courts. 

The situation is more worrisome as the condition of NCDRC is also gloomy. Notably, out of 11 members, the position of five is vacant in the commission.  

The Ministry has suggested appointing the chairman of neighbouring district as the acting chairman of the respective district forum. However, the decision of the state commission will be required for this.

With the aim of protecting and promoting the interests of consumers against unethical and unfair trade practices, the Ministry has further decided to bring minor consumer grievances under the ambit of consumer courts.

Three positions of chairman and 20 members (out of 629 members) are vacant in the consumer forums across 35 states in the country. Similarly, 60 positions of chairman and 270 positions of members are vacant across 629 districts in the country.