New Delhi, India (PressExposure) January 16, 2012 -- 2012 could see consumers build upon the developments in consumer rights in 2011. Do a report card for consumer forum judgments in 2011 and you will end up seeing a good picture. From landmark judgments like ordering a whopping 1.73 crore compensation in a medical negligence case to not even being able to touch telecom companies (in majority of the cases) because of an apex court ruling that leaves a lot to ponder, consumers saw everything happening, more for than against them. Here is a quick go-through of the four biggest decisions on consumer rights in the year 2011.
-- Rs. 1.73 crore awarded by apex consumer forum: Unbelievable yet true. In October 2011, the country's apex consumer forum ordered a Calcutta based hospital, Advanced Medical and Research Institute (AMRI), and three of its doctors to share the compensation of Rs. 1.73 crores to be given to a US-Based Indian origin doctor Dr. Kunal Saha for the death of his wife while undergoing treatment at the hospital. This judgment stands testimonial to the fact that not everything runs on a "chalta hai" attitude in this country and with a correct case in hand, anyone and everyone can be brought to justice.
-- David vs Goliath in the Telecom case: 2011 also saw a district forum judge disagree with a 2009 judgment of the mighty Supreme Court. The apex court in 2009 had said that consumers could not approach the consumer forum regarding telecom complaints as the Indian Telegraph Act provided for a special remedy for such disputes. The judge of Ferozepur District Consumer Forum though had other ideas when he challenged this much criticized logic and not only admitted a complaint against state owned BSNL but also gave the decision in favour of the complainant. This was a monumental yet rare happening as after the 2009 judgment by the apex court, hardly any consumer court accepts telecom consumer complaints.
-- DLF slapped Rs 630 crore fine: India's competition watchdog, Competition Commission of India, fined the country's biggest builder DLF for unfair trade practices in 2011. The verdict definitely brought respite for customers who feel sale-deeds in the real-estate industry are heavily tilted in the favour of the builder. The penalty was imposed by the Commission after it found merit in complaints of the alleged abuse of dominant position by DLF after the company introduced discriminatory and abusive clauses in sale agreements with home buyers in two high-profile residential projects in Gurgaon.
-- Non-advocates can appear in consumer cases: Don't want a lawyer to fight your consumer complaints but also can't go yourself either? No problem, now you don't need a lawyers services and can avail an agent if you so desire. The Supreme Court in September 2011 ruled that non-lawyers can represent, appear and argue cases filed under the Consumer Protection Act before consumer district forums and commissions. This came as a great relief for those who did not have enough lucre to give away an advocate's fee and also did not have enough time to appear themselves.
The consumer forum surely set very high standards in 2011 and almost all sectors were covered in its rulings, in favour of the consumer on most occasions. No matter what the company, no matter what the industry, no matter private or government, 2011 saw very strict scrutiny of consumer forums on complaints of any companies indulgence in unfair and deceptive trade practices. In this New Year, consumers may get even more revolutionary judgments from consumer court in their favor.
Akosha is a New Delhi based consumer help website which helps consumers and brands in resolving consumer complaints quickly. Akosha takes over the hassle of complaints from the customer and helps him get rid of the headache. Akosha representatives reach out to the company officials and try to get the complaint resolved quickly. You can see its success stories at http://www.akosha.com/latesttestimonials.html