Judicial Injustice …should be immediately corrected
National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission’s view
There are a number of decisions of different Consumer Forums, that an aggrieved applicant, who has paid the prescribed fees for obtaining information under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, is a consumer.
This view was upheld by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi in
REVISION PETITION No. 1975 OF 2005
(Against the order dated 1.10.05 in Appeal No.244/04 of the State Commission, Karnataka)
Dr. S.P. Thirumala Rao
Mysore City Municipal Corporation
No appeal was preferred against this order. Therefore, this decision remains final and binding, on all the consumer forums in the country.
You can see the full decision at the following site:
National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission does not follow its own order
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission had occasion to consider the same issue again in the following case:
Revision Petition No. RP/4061/2010
REVENUE DEPARTMENT (SERVICE DIVISION),
GOVERNMENT OF KARNATAKA
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission dismissed the petition by its order dated 13.03.2012. The order is reproduced below:
“ Petitioner had sent a letter on 10.1.2001 to the effect that he is not physically fit to appear before this Commission and also not in a position to engage an advocate due to financial difficulties. Prayer was made to dispose of the Revision Petition on the basis of the decision of this Commission in Dr. S.P. Thirumala Rao vs. Municipal Commission, Mysore – R.P. No.1975/2005 decided on 28.5.2009. We appointed Mr.R.K. Dikshit, Advocate as amicus curiae to appear in this case on behalf of the petitioner.
Petitioner, in order to sort out the controversy with respect to his pensionary benefits, filed an application under Right to Information Act, 2005 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the RTI Act, 2005’) in the office of Opposite party No.4. Opposite party No. 4 failed to provide the information. Petitioner then filed the complaint before the District Forum, which was allowed and a direction was issued to opposite party No.4 to furnish the required information.
Respondent, being aggrieved, filed an appeal before the State Commission, which has been allowed by observing thus :
“At the outset it is not in dispute that complainant had filed an application u/s 6 & 7 of the Right to Information Act to the OP No.4. But complainant cannot be considered as a consumer as defined under the C.P. Act since there is a remedy available for the complainant to approach the appellate authority u/s 19 of the RTI Act, 2005.”
We agree with the view taken by the fora below. Petitioner cannot be claimed to be a consumer under the Consumer Protection Act. There is a remedy available for him to approach the Appellate Authority under Section 19 of the RTI Act, 2005. Dismissed. “
This is judicially a very bad order. It has referred to the decision in Dr. S.P. Thirumala Rao vs. Municipal Commission, Mysore – R.P. No.1975/2005 …..but has not given a single reason why it is not following that decision. This is bad jurisprudence.
I suppose the Supreme Court of India itself should cancel this order dated 13.03.2012 and direct the National Commission to decide the issue afresh.
Karnataka State Consumer Redressal Commission
Toeing the error committed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, the Karnataka State Consumer Redressal Commission has forgotten its high status and gone one step further in committing judicial impropriety.
In brief, J S Virupakshaiah, Karnataka Information Commissioner, passed an order dated July 17, 2012 on a petition, K Venugopal vs Tahsildar and PIO, Bellary Taluk, Bellary district (KIC 12026 PTN 2011).
In this order, he has directed the Information Commission’s under secretary as follows :
“A copy of this order may be sent to the Chairman, Karnataka Consumers Redressal Forum, Basava Bhavan, Palace Road, Bangalore, with a request to direct all the Consumers Forums in the state not to entertain Appeals/Complaints filed under the RTI Act.”
Instead of taking objection to this kind of letter, and acting against all the norms of judicial independence, the Registrar, Karnataka State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (KSCDRC), Bangalore, (presumably under the orders of his Chairman) has sent a circular on August 29, 2012 to all the District Forums in the State not to entertain any complaints or appeals against public information officers (PIOs) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Naturally, almost all the District Forums will obey this written, but illegal, order.
I suppose the Supreme Court of India should rectify these glaring errors and should suo moto cancel the order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission dated 13.03.2012 in Case No. RP/4061/2010 and direct it to decide the issue afresh.
The Chairman, Karnataka State Consumer Redressal Commission should immediately recall his bad and illegal Circular dated August 29, 2012 to all the District Forums in the state and let them function in accordance with law.
Mistakes can and do occur. But they should be immediately corrected…….
This will only enhance the faith of the common man in the higher judiciary .