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How Should States Proceed With Filling Up Vacancies After Bombay HC Quashed Consumer Protection Rules? Supreme Court To Clarify

Shruti Kakkar
6 Oct 2021 3:35 PM GMT
How Should States Proceed With Filling Up Vacancies After Bombay HC Quashed Consumer Protection Rules? Supreme Court To Clarify
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In light of the recent decision by the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court striking down provisions of the new Consumer Protection Rules 2020 ("Rule, 2020") which excluded lawyers with 10-12 years experience from appointments to Consumer Commission, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it will issue appropriate directions with regards to other states( where the Rules have not...

In light of the recent decision by the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court striking down provisions of the new Consumer Protection Rules 2020 ("Rule, 2020") which excluded lawyers with 10-12 years experience from appointments to Consumer Commission, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said that it will issue appropriate directions with regards to other states( where the Rules have not been challenged) proceeding with the process of filling up vacancies as per the time-limit set by the Court.

The Supreme Court stated so while considering the suo motu case taken by it to deal with the vacancies in Consumer Commissions across the country. On August 11, the Court had issued directions for filling up the vacancies in NCDRC and the State Commissions within 8 weeks.

Today, Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, amicus curiae in the case, while apprising the bench of Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh of the Bombay High Court's decision of striking down Rule 3(2)(b), Rule 4(2)(c) and Rule 6(9) of the Rules, 2020 submitted that a clarification was required for other states where the Rules have not been assailed to proceed with the same.

On Senior Counsel's submission, the bench of Justices SK Kaul and MM Sundresh in their order dated October 6, 2021, noted that, "Mr. Gopal Sankaranarayanan, learned Amicus Curiae submits that Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court has struck down Rule 3(2)(b), Rule 4(2)(c) and Rule 6(9) of the Consumer Protection (Qualification for appointment, method of recruitment, procedure of appointment, term of office, resignation and removal of President and Members of the State Commission and District Commission) Rules, 2020. It is thus, submitted that some clarification would be required for other States to proceed where the Rules have not been assailed so that the process is not delayed in the other States. For the said purpose, in order to issue appropriate directions, list on 22.10.2021."

Case Before Bombay High Court

Bombay High Court division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Kilor on September 14, 2021 struck down provisions of the new Consumer Protection Rules 2020, which prescribe a minimum professional experience of 20 years and 15 years for adjudicating members to the State consumer commissions and District forums, respectively.

The court also struck down the provision that gave each state's selection committee the power to determine its own procedure to recommend names for appointment in the order of merit for the State Government to consider.

Consequently, the court quashed the vacancy notice issued by the Ministry Of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Protection Maharashtra State on February 2, 2021, inviting applications to fill up 33 vacant posts of Members in Maharashtra's commissions as until today the procedure for making the recommendation is not yet determined by the Selection Committee under Rule 6.

The court also directed the Union of India to frame new rules within four weeks, considering the Supreme Court's recent directions in their suo motu case to deal with vacancies in consumer commissions.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had clarified that the Bombay High Court was at liberty to proceed with deciding the validity of the Rules, regardless of the pendency of the suo motu case before the SC.

Case Title: RE: Inaction of the Governments in appointing President and Members/Staff of Districts and State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and inadequate infrastructure across India| SMW (C) No(s). 2/2021

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