Various Dates in Consumer Forum / Court Proceedings
The consumer forum / court case starts with filing of the complaint with the consumer forum / court along with necessary fees, which is followed by series of Court Dates for various purposes, as follows:
1. Acceptance of Complaint by the Consumer Forum / Court and Issue of notice to the Opposite Party is generally what happens on the first date with the Consumer Forum.
2. On the next court date, the Opposite Party(s) have to file their defence in the form of Reply (also called Written Statment in civil court).
3. The Complainant has an opportunity to file Rejoinder on the next court date (i.e. reply to the written statement can be filed with the consumer forum), in which he can refute the Opposite Party’s defence. This has to be accompanied with evidence under Affidavit.
4. On the fourth court date / hearing, the Opposite Party has to file their evidence under affidavit.
5. Last stage of Case is Arguments, which is to be provided in writing by both the parties and these written arguments most relevant, as they cannot be ignored by the Consumer Forum Members, else you can always go into appeal.
6. Last court date / hearing before the consumer forum is for oral arguments, where both the parties are heard in person or through Advocates.
Other Important points to be considered, while dealing with a matter as a consumer before Consumer Forum / Court:
1. A consumer forum / court case may take approx 12 – 24 months to complete, as mostly dates are provided at a gap of 3-4 months. Though it still depends upon the numbers of cases pending in a consumer court.
2. There may be further delays from either side, for which more time may be granted by the Honorable court to file reply/ rejoinder/ affidavit/ arguments.
3. Sometimes, costs can be imposed, especially upon Opposite Party for delaying the matter, which is minimum of Rs 500, in case of Opposite Party and Rs 100 in case of complainant.
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