Detail of Consumer Protection Act, 1986

Consumer Protection Act, 1986


Consumer Protection Act, 1986 




Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is a landmark legislation that has established a strong grievance redressal system for consumers in India.

It was long time  of  exploitation by manufacturers and traders,  consumers in India now have effective legal remedies in the case of deficient goods and services being provided to them.

To achieve this, the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has created a series of  forums  at the district, state and national level which can adjudicate/solve  consumer cases and pass time-bound decision in the same case . Thus, any grievance/complain  regarding defect in goods or deficiency in services can be brought before the concerned Consumer Forum/court  in the form of a complaint, which will then proceed to decide the same in accordance with law.

Every individual is a consumer of goods and services and expects a fair deal against unfair exploitation.

Some important recommendations of consumer protection act are following:

This Consumer Protection Act applies to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir and covers all goods and services purchased by the consumers and to all sectors — private, public and cooperative.

 The objective of this act “to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers and for that purpose to make provisions for the establishment of Consumer forums and other authorities for the settlement /solution of consumer disputes and for matters connected therewith”.

It protects the consumers from unfair trading or unfair trade practices from traders/manufactures .

 

It is worth  to note that the Indian Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is a social welfare legislation and has been designed to avoid technicalities, procedural delays, procedural requirement, court fees and costs.

 

The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides for the following rights to the consumers:

 

(a) Right to be heard and to be assured that consumers’ interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forum;

(b) Right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and

(c) Right to consumer awareness

The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act 1993 adds the following consumer rights:

(d) The right to be assured wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices;

(e) The right to be informed about the quality, potency, purity, standard and price of goods (or services as the case may be) so as to protect the consumers against unfair trade practices; and

 (f) The right to be protected against the marketing of goods (and services) which are hazardous to life and property.

 Redressal Machinery Under the Act

 To provide simple, speedy and inexpensive redressal of consumer grievances, the Act envisages three tier quasijudicial machinery at the National, State and District levels.

 District Forum

It consists of a president and two members. The president has to be qualified to be a district judge, while the others are eminent persons from various fields.Under Consumer Protection Act, the State Government has to set up a District forum in each district of the state. The district forum has the power to take up cases where the value of the goods and services and the compensation demanded are upto Rs. 20 Lakh.

 

The complaint shall be instituted in the District Forum within the local limits of :

 i. The opposite party or the defendant actually and voluntarily resides or carries on the business or has a branch office or personally works for gain at the time of institution of the complaint; or

 ii. Any one of the opposite parties (where there are more than one )actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain at the time of institution of the complaint provided that the other opposite party/parties acquiescence in such institution or the permission of the Forum is obtained in respect of such opposite parties; or

 iii. The cause of action arises wholly or in part.

 State Commission

The state commission, like the district forum has a qualified legal person as the president and two eminent members one of whom shall be a women. Judge of the high court shall be appointed as its president. A person can go to the state level body in appeal from the district forum. Also, if the value of the goods, services and damages is between Rs 20 lakh and Rs. 1 crore,  the consumer can go directly to the forum. Any aggrieved party who is dissatisfied with the decision of the state commission may appeal against such order to the national commission within a period of 30 days from the date of the order.

 National Commission

Supreme Court judge can be appointed by the Central Government as its president. At least 4 members shall be appointed, and one of whom shall be a women. Every member of the National Commission shall hold office for a term of five years upto 70 years of age whichever is earlier and shall not be eligible for reappointment.  A consumer can go to the national forum in appeal from the state commission, or if the value of the goods, services and damages is more than Rs. One crore.

 Powers of the Dispute Redressal Agencies

 The District Forum, the State Commission and the National Commission are vested with the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure while trying a suit in respect of the following matters :

 

·       The summoning and enforcing attendance of any defendant or witness, examining the witness on oath.

·       The discovery and production of any document or other material producible as evidence.

·       The reception of evidence on affidavits.

·       The requisitioning of the report of the concerned analysis or test from the appropriate laboratory or from any other relevant source.

·       Issuing of any commission for the examination of any witness.

·       Any other matter which may be prescribed.

·       To issue remedial orders against the opposite party.

·       To dismiss frivolous and vexations complaints and to order the complainant to make payment of cost, not exceeding Rs. 10,000 to the opposite party.

 

Consumer Protection Bill, 2018

The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 provides for the establishment of an executive agency to be known as the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers; make interventions when necessary to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practices and to initiate class action including enforcing recall, refund and return of products, etc

This fills an institutional void in the regulatory regime extant. Currently, the task of prevention of or acting against unfair trade practices is not vested in any authority. This has been provided for in a manner that the role envisaged for the CCPA complements that of the sector regulators and duplication, overlap or potential conflict is avoided.

The Bill also envisages provisions for product liability action on account of harm caused to consumers due to a defective product or by deficiency in services. Further, provision of “Mediation” as an Alternate Dispute Resolution Mechanism has also been provided.

The Bill provides for several provisions aimed at simplifying the consumer dispute adjudication process of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies, inter alia, relating to enhancing the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies; increasing minimum number of Members in the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions and provisions for consumers to file complaints electronically, etc.