Consumer Forum can`t be appointed arbitrarily: SC

Members of a Consumer Forum cannot be appointed in an arbitrary manner at the behest of ministers and others, the Supreme Court has ruled.

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.


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