Indore: Consumer Forum to start physical hearing from November 23

Indore: After 8 months, Consumer Forum will commence physical hearing of pending pleas in district and state courts from November 23, 2020. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission president justice Shantanu Kemkar has issued standard operating procedure (SOP) for physical hearing of the cases.

The physical hearing will commence on an experimental basis on the request of various lawyers' bodies. As per the SOP, physical hearing instructions have been given for compliance from November 23, 2020 to December 5, 2020.

State commission has been holding hearings through video conferencing since March 25 due to the Covid-19 induced nationwide lockdown.

“The number of pleas to be heard will be decided on the day of the hearing by the president of district consumer forum in advance,” SOP issued on Thursday stated. Further, entry of plaintiff, defended, lawyers and any other attendants in the forum must be recorded for safety reasons.

“To limit the touch and possible chance of spread of Covid-19, signing of register by plaintiff, defended, lawyers and others has been relaxed and hence, their presence will be marked by officials,” SOP said.

District consumer forum president will be required to ensure that all the employees of forum at various posts are following necessary precautions to control the outspread of coronavirus. “Everyone commuting to forum must wear a mask, maintain social distancing and other preventions to ensure safety at forum,” the orders stated.

Further, the forum has to prepare the court taking necessary preventions for ensuring safety from coronavirus. “Sanitising before entering the court, ensuring social distancing, limiting the number of people in court at a particular time, wearing a mask and other necessary steps must be taken at the forum to ensure safety,” the orders said.

Those employees including president and member of the forum if under quarantine due to

Covid-19 will not be allowed in forum premises and are instructed to follow the guidelines of corona. “Smoking, tobacco chewing and other such activities will be prohibited in forum premises and if anyone is found spitting or smoking in the premises, then they will be penalised as per law,” SOP said.

To ensure that no one enters the forum premises without wearing mask and sanitising their hands, requisite arrangements and appointment will be done by district presidents. Thermal screening is mandatory before entering the court.

“A person found to have fever or suffering from any symptoms of flu will not be allowed in the court and in case an employee of forum is found with such symptoms, then president must be informed and requisite actions must be taken,” SOP said.

The guidelines added that sanitising before entering the court and maintaining social distance must be strictly complied with. “To limit the number of people in the court, only the plaintiff and defended called in the court will be allowed inside, others must wait outside,” SOP said.

Plaintiff and defended will be carrying their files to the court themselves and will be required to submit and wait outside. Further, the order instructs district forums to conduct everyday screening and compliance with all the guidelines from govt issued time to time for controlling coronavirus outspread.

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