Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Friday directed that the process of filling up vacancies of the president and members of various districts and the state consumer commissions be completed in 90 days. The order comes as a relief in the times of increased consumer awareness because all four district commissions have come to a halt owing to vacancies. In Maharashtra, 15 commissions have come to a grinding halt, including all in Mumbai.
Extension by SC ended this month
So that the functioning of commissions does not stop, a petition sought a further extension to SC’s earlier order of allowing those whose terms were over to continue until fresh appointments are made. “Our contention was that till fresh appointments are done, there should be some arrangement but the apex court was not inclined to give that,” said advocate Pravartak Pathak, who appeared for petitioner Vijay Dighe who sought an interim arrangement.
The SC, while hearing the matter of rules for filling up the vacancies in December last year, had given an extension to the sitting presidents and members till March. In March when it heard the case again, (decided on the rules and reduced the age of experience from 15 years to 10 years and made it uniform for president and members. It stated that anyone with more than 10 years of special knowledge and professional experience can become the president or member after passing both written and interview exams.
Due to the retirement age, even SC’s order of extension could not be given effect to. State government officials said that out of 40 sanctioned posts of presidents, only 19 are filled. “We will be going to the committee to set the process of filling of vacancies rolling,” said an official from the consumer affairs department.
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