Consumer Protection Laws in India
The Consumer Protection Law history is split into three parts
- Pre- 1950
- The English common Law enforced the consumer protection law before 1950.
- British rulers introduced different acts in the era before 1950:-
- After the independence, the central government of India enacted various laws for protecting the customers from unfair trade practices.
- The acts added for the consumer protection law in 1950 were –
- The Drugs Control act (1950)
- The Industries development and Regulations Act (1951)
- The Drugs and Remedies act (1954)
- The Prevention of food adulteration Act (1954)
- The Essential Commodities Act (1955)
- The Trade and merchandise Marks Act (1958)
- The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act (1969)
- The Cigarettes Regulation of Production, Distribution, and Supply Act (1975)
- The Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential
- Commodities Act (1980)
- The Standards of Weights and Measures Act (1985)
- The Bureau of Indian Standards Act (1986).
- Consumer Protection Bill was passed in the year 1986. Approval by The President was received on 24th Dec 1986.
- Consumer Protection Act came into effect within the year 1986.
- This act was enforced in order so that customers can have the higher protection of their interests.
- Different consumer protection councils were also established:-
- The Central consumer protection councils.
- The state consumer protection council.
- The district consumer protection council.
- The Consumer Protection Act 1986 was undergone 3 amendments:-
- In 1991.
- In 1993.
- In 2002.
Objects and Reasons of Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
- Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan, the minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and public distribution firstly introduced The Consumer Protection Act 2019 in the Lok Sabha.
- The Bill of the Consumer Protection 2019 was passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on July 30th, 2019 and August 06th, 2019 respectively.
- The Consumer Protection Act came into effect on August 09, 2019 by replacing The Consumer Protection Act 1986.
- For providing another layer of protection to the customers.
- For establishing authorities taking less time for settling up the disputes of the consumers.
- For effective administration.
- The Consumer Protection Act came into force so that the consumers are provided with the proper mechanism for redressal of complaints without any kind of complications.
- Because of growing environment and changing market and introduction of digital marketing with the huge variety of goods, this act has been introduced for providing the systematic and accessible opportunities for redressal of disputes by the consumers.
Definitions Consumer Protection Councils.
- Consumer: Section 2(7) of COPRA: Any person who buys any goods, whether through offline or online transactions, electronic means, teleshopping, direct selling or multi-level marketing.
- Goods: Section 2(21) of the sale of goods Act: all types of movable property also includes “food”.
- Unfair trade practices: Trade practice which are done to promote the sale and supply of any goods for the provision of any service adopting any unfair method or unfair practice.
- Unfair contract: A contract which is unfair to one party and isn’t enforceable by law.
- Product liabilty: It is the liability of a product manufacturer of any product or service, to compensate for any harm caused to a consumer by any defective product manufactured.
- Direct selling: Selling the products and the services directly to the consumers (final consumer) in a non-retail environment.
- Product Manufacturer: A person who manufactures the goods or who produces as well as sells.
- Product seller: A product seller is a person who sells or distributes products.
- Complainant: A person who makes the complainant in a legal proceedings.
If the consumer is minor, complainant shall extend to parents or legal guardians of the minor.
Consumer Protection Council
- A Central Consumer Protection Authority is established under the section 10 of COPRA 2019.
- This Authority was established due to the following purposes:-
- To safeguard the rights of the consumers.
- To enforce the rights of the consumers.
- To regulate the matters of violations of the rights.
- To regulate the matters of unfair trade practices and false or misleading advertisements.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority is headed by Director-general which was the Investigation Wing that conduct inquiry or investigate against the violations.
Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies
- Changes in the Consumer redressal forums in the Consumer protection act 2019-
- Pecuniary jurisdiction
It is set up at 3 levels:-
- National level – the limit for the national commission is Rs.10 Crore.
- State level – The limit for state commission earlier was Rs.1crore But now it is extend to ten times higher i.e. Rs.10 crore.
- District level– The limit for district commission was 20lakhs earlier, but now it is Rs.1crore.
- Consumers can file complaint with CDRCs for unfair trade practices, for the defective goods and services, for overcharging of any product, charging for goods that may be dangerous.
- Complaints against an unfair contract can be filed with only state and national level.
- Final appeal will lie with only Supreme Court.
- Territorial jurisdiction
Due consumer protection act 2019, consumer can file a complaint anywhere they live or work, earlier it was restricted to only file a case where the seller live or conducted business.
- Online registration of complaints
Consumer can file a case through online mode also, it makes the process easier for the consumer and also less time consuming.