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NAME OF THE CASE AND CORAM

  • NAME: Vijaykumar Bhima Dighe v. Union of India and others
  • CORAM: Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Kilor

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Rules allowing each state's selection committee to set its own approach for recommending candidates for appointment challenged before the Court.
  • Rule 3(2)(b), 4(2)(c), and 6(9) held as being unconstitutional and violating Article 14 as a whole.

CASE BACKGROUND

  • The order referred to the Central Government's New 2020 Rules issued under Section 101 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 for appointments, qualifications, eligibility, and removal of representatives of State Consumer Commissions and District Consumer Forums operating in the country.
  • In petitions submitted by Advocate Dr Mahindra Limaye and Vijaykumar Bhima Dighe, a division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Kilor knocked down Rule 3(2)(b), 4(2)(c), and 6(9) as unconstitutional and violating Article 14 as a whole entirety.
  • As a result, the court dismissed the vacancy notice issued by the Maharashtra State Ministry of Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Protection on February 2, 2021, inviting applications to fill 33 vacant positions of Members in Maharashtra's commissions, because the Selection Committee was yet to determine the procedure for making the recommendations and guidelines under Rule 6.
  • In light of the Supreme Court's recent directives in their suo motu case to deal with vacancies in consumer commissions, the court also ordered the Union of India to create new guidelines within four weeks.
  • [fifth slide]
  • Assistant Solicitor General UM Aurangabadkar sought a stay of the judgement after it was delivered. The ruling was temporarily stayed by the court for two weeks, but the State was barred from making any more appointments.
  • The bench clarified that it had not addressed the appointment of the State Commission's chairman. Last week, the Apex Court stated that the Court's suo motu case regarding vacancies in Consumer Commissions is not a barrier to the Bombay High Court's decision on a challenge to the Central Government's Consumer Protection Rules 2020.
  • The High Court underlined the Supreme Court's rulings in the Madras Bar Association (MBA-2020 and MBA-2021) cases, which said that advocates with ten years of experience should be considered for appointments to Tribunals. As a result, the Court concluded that the Rules constitute an attempt to get around the Supreme Court's directives.

CASE RELEVANCE

  • The Bombay High Court on Tuesday did away with certain elements of the new Consumer Protection Rules 2020, which required adjudicating members of the State consumer commissions and District forums to have a minimum professional experience of 20 years and 15 years, respectively.
  • The section allowing each state's selection committee to set its own approach for recommending candidates for appointment in order of merit for the State Government to consider was also declared down by the court.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. You may now be able to answer the following questions, let us know in the comments section

  • Do you know what Suo Moto means?
  • What are your opinions on this approach?
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