Consumer Forum can`t be appointed arbitrarily: SC
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Last Updated: Monday, October 11, 2010, 18:13
New Delhi: Members of a Consumer Forum cannot be appointed in an arbitrary manner at the behest of ministers and others, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The apex court said although a state government was not bound by recommendations of the selection committee set up for appointing such members, it will have to record valid reasons for not heeding to the suggestions and the same was subject to judicial scrutiny.

"Though the state government is not bound to accept the recommendations made by the selection committee, if it does not want to accept the recommendations, then reasons for doing so have to be recorded. The state government cannot arbitrarily ignore or reject the recommendations of the selection committee.

"If the appointment made by the state government is subjected to judicial scrutiny, then it is duty-bound to produce the relevant records including recommendations of the selection committee before the court to show that there were valid reasons for not accepting the recommendation," a Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said in a judgement.

The apex court passed the judgement while setting aside a Kerala High Court order which had quashed appointment of Chandramohan Nair as Member of the Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

Nair's appointment was quashed on the basis of a PIL filed by one George Joseph, despite the fact that another Bench of the High Court had upheld his appointment and dismissed the plea of K V Thomas, whose name was earlier recommended by the Minister for Consumer Affairs, as being tainted with malafides and extraneous influence.

"The record of this case shows that just before start of the interview, a cover containing the names of candidates, which was sent from the office of the minister, was handed over to the Chairman by Shri K V Thomas, who himself was a candidate," the court said.

"The Law Secretary and the Secretary, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department, who were members of the selection committee appear to have been overawed by this development and this must have been the operative reason for their recommending the names of Smt Valsala Sarangadharan and Shri K V Thomas.

"The Chairman did not toe their line and recommended inclusion of the name of the appellant (Nair) and exclusion of that of Shri K V Thomas. Finally, the names of the appellant and Smt Valsala Sarangadharan were recommended to the state government," the apex court said.

The Bench said that yet, the High Court had quashed the appointment of Nair on the PIL filed by George Joseph claiming to be the General Secretary of Kerala Vayapari Vavyasai Ekopana Samati on the ground that his name had not been recommended by the selection committee.


First Published: Monday, October 11, 2010, 18:13

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