Kashmir Observes Consumer Rights Day With Headless Consumers Commission 

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SRINAGAR:- As world celebrated consumer right day on Wednesday, the State Consumers Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) continued to remain headless even after the passage of 19 months turning consumers ‘high and dry’

Terming consumer protection as top priority of his Government, Minister for Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali on Wednesday said, that his department has focused on the issues of consumers so that they are not being deceived.

 ‘‘We will not allow anybody to deceive our consumers in J&K and we have built a strong consumer grievance redressal mechanism to address the issues of consumers’

The minister was addressing in a programme to commemorate World Consumer Rights Day at New Delhi.

But back home the consumers continue to move helter-skelter for redressal of their grievances as the SCDRC remains defunct since 2015. Despite repeated media reports and High Court directions the state Govt has failed to appoint the president and other members for the commission.

Newspapers in Jammu and Kashmir on 15th of March were flooded with Consumers Rights Day messages from the government. The messages were talking about the consumer’s right and its benefits. However dysfunctional SCDRC remained a tell tale story of Govt apathy..

The government has given free toll numbers for the consumers however, when Kashmir Observer called on the number there was no response.

The failure of the Government to appoint president and other members for this important Commission has become a cause of concern for the people.

According to reports, thousands of cases, especially the cases of 2014- flood victims, are piled-up at the commission.

“We had meeting regarding this few days ago, we have filed our report to cabinet and the issue will be resolved soon,” Shafiq Ahmed Raina Secretary CAPD told  Kashmir Observer.Director Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) Tasaduq Jeelani, while speaking to Kashmir Observer said,  we are aware of the fact that public are suffering but I assure you that the issue will be resolved as soon as possible” he said.

Notably, On March 06, 2016, High court directed the state government to make the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission functional within three weeks by appointing its chairman and a member but authorities remain unmoved.

In 2015 the State Govt had previously appointed Justice (Rtd) B A Kirmani as SCDRC head but within months he was appointed as member of the State Accountability Commission leaving the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission headless.
Shabnum Munshi, a member of the body, completed her term on January 11, 2016.

In the same year a retired Judge, Justice B. L. Bhat was appointed as President. Mr Bhat stayed there only for 22 days and resigned.

The consumers are moving from pillar to post to get their cases settled.

The Commission was formed for taking effective steps to protect the interest of consumers in the State by strictly enforcing the state/central laws and organizing consumer awareness programmes.

The Commission is headed by its chairman who should be a retired judge of the High Court.
 

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