The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday stayed the orders issued for appointments of presidents of three district Consumer Disputes Rederessal Forums in Punjab. The appointments for Gurdaspur, Ferozepur and Amritsar districts were made on Monday by the department of food, civil supplies and consumer affairs.
“As the matter requires to be examined by this court and in view of the proceedings that have transpired before this court, we think it appropriate to direct that the operation of orders of appointment issued in favour of respondents shall be kept in abeyance till the next date of hearing,” the division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli said in the order.
The selection process and rules regarding appointments to the State Consumer Commission and District Fora in the state were challenged in the petition filed in February by Gurdaspur Assistant District Attorney Bhupinder Kumar Sharma through advocate Shekhar Verma.
It has been argued in the petition that certain clauses of the Punjab Consumer Protect (Appointment, Salary, Allowances and Conditions of Service of the President and Members of the State Commission and the District Forum) Rules, 2018, are ultra vires (acting or done beyond one’s legal power or authority) to the Consumer Protection Act and Punjab Superior Judicial Service Rules.
“The impugned clauses provide for selection criteria for the post of president, district consumer forums, Punjab, and the selection criteria allow persons who are otherwise not qualified to be a district judge, to be selected as president, District Consumer Forums, Punjab,” the petition reads, adding that selection criteria laid down by the state government dilutes the qualifications required for the post of president as prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act.
The appointment on four such posts was challenged before the court. While the court on Tuesday stayed the operation of orders of appointment of three persons, the government counsel told the court that no order has been issued in respect of the fourth person as a complaint against him is pending. The orders for appointment of Neelam Gupta, Amardeep Singh Shergill and Jagdishwar Kumar Chopra was stayed by the court on Tuesday.
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