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Lok Adalats to be used for consumer cases

Special Correspondent

Traders told to set up in-house redress mechanism

NEW DELHI: The Department of Consumer Affairs proposes to utilise the services of Lok Adalats for speedy disposal of consumer disputes. A system which provides for reference of consumer disputes to fora such as the Consumer Councils and Lok Adalats will ensure speedy disposal of cases with consumer courts being reserved as the last resort, Secretary Consumer Affairs L. Mansingh said while addressing a meeting of State Secretaries of Department of Consumer Affairs here on Saturday.

Emphasising the need for transparency in the system of consumer protection, he said traders of goods and service providers were being told to set up an in-house redress mechanism to sort out consumer grievances at the origin itself.

More courts needed

President of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission M.B. Shah underlined the need for creating more benches of consumer courts for disposal of cases within the stipulated time. He urged the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations to fill up all vacancies of presidents in consumer fora and regretted that even some of the progressive States had not yet constituted benches.

The Department of Consumer Affairs had sanctioned a project in 2004-05 for computerisation and computer networking of consumer fora at an estimated cost of Rs. 48.64 crores, which is being executed by the National Informatics Centre on a turnkey basis.

This would be done in three phases from 2004-05 to 2006-07.

To ensure cooperation for the implementation of the project, a tripartite Memoranda of Understanding between the Department of Consumer Affairs, the National Informatics Centre and State Governments was signed on this occasion.

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