The three-tier consumer grievances machinery under the consumer protection act are :
- District Forum Each District Forum shall consist of a person who is or has been qualified as a District judge, as the President. There must be two other persons who are not less than thirty-five years of age and also possesses a degree from a recognized university. The persons must have adequate knowledge in the field of economics, commerce, industry, public affairs, and administration. The district forum must have the jurisdiction to entertain such complaints where the value of goods or services and the compensation, does not exceed Rs. twenty lakhs. The need for district forums for consumer redressal is that majority of the people who face any consumer rights violation are unable to file a complaint in a state or national forum because such have to look at matters concerning various other district forums which result in a large number of pending cases. District forums are also enabled with a faster way of dispensing consumer redressal as the number of claims is pretty less than that of State/National redressal forums which enables normal people to seek a solution for their problems.
- State Commission Each State Commission shall consist of a person who is or has been a judge of the High Court as its president. The Commission also consists of not less than two members, who are above thirty-five years of age and also possess a degree from a recognized university. The persons must have adequate knowledge in the field of economics, commerce, industry, public affairs, and administration. The Act also states that not less than fifty percent of the members shall be from amongst the persons having a judicial background. The State Commission has a jurisdiction to entertain cases where the value of goods or services or the compensation claimed, if any, exceeds the number of Rs. twenty lakhs but does not exceed Rs. one crore. It also entertains appeals against any District Forum within the state and also looks after any pending disputes or cases decided by any of the District forums in which the forums have exercised a jurisdiction not vested in them by the law, or has been exercised illegally or with any material irregularity.
- National Commission The National Commission shall consist of a person, who is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court, to be appointed by the Central Government, shall be the President, provided that no appointment shall be made except after the consultation with the Chief Justice of India. The commission shall consist of not less than four members of its executive committee who shall not be less than thirty-five years of age and must be graduates from a recognized university. They must also be specialized in the areas of commerce, economics, and administration. The jurisdiction of the commission shall extend to any case where the compensation amount might exceed Rs. one crore and the Commission shall also entertain appeals against State Commissions.
The Commission also has the power to check any pending disputes or cases decided by any of the State Commissions where the State Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law or it has been exercised illegally or with any material irregularity Power of redressal forums There are various powers for all of the redressal forums with regards to its jurisdiction.
Some of them include:
- Examining, enforcing as well as summoning the witness on oath;
- Discovering and producing any material evidence;
- Receiving evidence on affidavit;
- Requesting for the report or test analysis from the concerned authorities and laboratories;
- Issuing commission for examining the witness; 6. Enforcing any other powers prescribed by the Central or State Government Limitation period