Nagpur: On Friday SC issued notice on special leave petitions filed by the state and central governments. In which the Nagpur bench of Bombay HC decision had been challenged to set aside the provisions of all consumer protection rules. In which all lawyers with less than 15 years of experience are excluded from appointments in consumer commissions/forums.
High Court’s decision dated September 14, Mahendra Limaye, a lawyer from this city, with the help of Tushar Mandlekar, challenged the validity of the Consumer Protection Rules, 2020, Which used to control the appointments of the chairman and members of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions of the state and district.
A Nagpur bench headed by Justice Sunil Shukre had completely struck down the provisions of these consumer protection rules as unconstitutional and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
Simultaneously praying for the stay, Attorney General KK Venugopal has argued that the High Court has completely struck down the rules based on the decision of the Madras Bar Association of SCs, In which it was said that only lawyers with a minimum experience of about 10 years should be considered for appointments as these members of the Tribunal.
A division bench of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice L Nageswara Rao has also issued notices to the respondents including Limaye to file their replies before the date of 31st January.
Appearing for the Maharashtra government, Rahul Chitnis has submitted that another SC bench headed by Justice SK Kaul had passed directions for the appointment of members of the commissions.
Minimal Professional Experience
Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Bhushan Gavai have also made it clear that they can no longer pass orders on interim relief at all. But will issue notice on interim application.
Nagpur Bench which also included Justice Anil Kilor, had completely repealed the provisions of the new Consumer Protection Rules, 2020, In which minimum professional experience of 20 years and 15 years was prescribed for the decision of the members of State Consumer Commissions and District Forums respectively.
The High Court had also completely struck down the same provision that empowers the state selection committee to determine the procedure for recommending names for appointments in order of merit for consideration by the government.
High Court order was related to the new 2020 rules framed by the Center under Section 101 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 for eligibility, appointments, qualifications, removal of members of the State Consumer Commission, and consumer forums of the district.