Powers of the Consumer Forums [Sections 13(4), 14(1) and Rule 10]
For the purpose of adjudicating a consumer dispute, section 13(4) has vested the Consumer Forums with certain powers of a civil court. Apart from these powers, the Central Government has provided some additional powers to them under Rule 10 of the Consumer Protection Rules, 1987. Finally section 14 of the Act has provided them with the power to issues orders.
Powers akin to those of civil court [Section 13(4)] – The Forums are vested with the Civil Court powers with respect to the following :
(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any defendant or witness and examining the witness on oath;
(b) discovery and production of any document or other material object producible as evidence;
(c) receiving of evidence on affidavits;
(d) requisitioning of the report of the concerned analysis or test from the appropriate laboratory or from any other relevant source;
(e) issuing of any commission for the examination of any witness; and
(f) any other matter which may be prescribed.
Additional powers of the consumer forums [Rule 10] – The National Commission, the State Commission and the District Forum have following additional powers :
(a) Requiring production of any books, accounts, documents, or commodities from any person, examining and retaining them.
(b) Obtaining information required for the purpose of the proceedings from any person.
(c) enter and search any premises and seize from such premises books, papers, documents, commodities required for the purpose of proceedings under the Act.
Power to issue order [Section 14(1)] – If, after the proceedings, the Forum is satisfied that the complainant has suffered due to any defect in goods or deficiency in service, it may issue an order to the opposite party directing him to do one or more of the following things, namely :—
(a) to remove the defect pointed out by the appropriate laboratory from the goods in question;
(b) to replace the goods with new goods of similar description which shall be free from any defect;
(c) to return to the complainant the price, or, as the case may be, the charges paid by the complainant;
(d) to pay such amount as may be awarded by it as compensation to the consumer for any loss
or injury suffered by the consumer due to the negligence of the opposite party;
(e) to remove the defects or deficiencies in the services in question;
(f) to discontinue the unfair trade practice or the restrictive trade practice or not to repeat it;
(g) not to offer the hazardous goods for sale;
(h) to withdraw the hazardous goods from being offered for sale;
(i) to provide for adequate costs to complainant.