The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 was recently introduced in Lok Sabha which replaces the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Bill is a step towards the ease of provision of an effective and efficient institution and settlement of disputes to ordinary consumers.
Today’s consumer market has gone through radical changes since the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Act introduced international trade, the emergence of global supply chains and the development of e-commerce which has led to a contemporary and modern system for the deliverance and supply of goods and services from the hands of the producers to the consumers. Consequently, due to several shortcomings of the provisions of the established Act, the disposal of cases had not been up to speed which is why the Bill has introduced the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) which would have powers to take immediate action to investigate consumer rights violations, remove misleading advertisements and recall unsafe goods and services to be prohibited or discontinued.
The Bill covers both online and offline transactions, including teleshopping and multi-level marketing. According to the Bill, consumer rights includes the right to be protected against the marketing of goods, products and services that pose a hazard to life and property, the right to be informed about the quantity, quality, purity, potency, price and standard of goods and services, the right to be assured of access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices and also, the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or the exploitation of consumers. The Bill also provides for product liability in case of any personal injury, death or damage of property has been caused from a product.
For redressal and compensation, mediation has been provided as a means of alternate dispute resolution to simplify and speed up the process of dispute adjudication for the ordinary consumer where consumer mediation cells are to be established and attached to their respective district, state and national commissions. A monitoring cell is also proposed to be set up to oversee the functioning of the State consumer commissions which is to be constituted by the president of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
The CCPA would have powers to intervene in unfair trade practices and enforce an action for recall, refund and return of products so as to prevent the detriment of the consumer and in turn empower the ordinary man.
The Bill is a necessity in the Indian legal system as currently, the task of preventing or taking action against unfair trade practices is not vested in any particular authority. It is a necessary change because it looks at the interests of the consumers in a more efficient and better way as the Bill would aid the ordinary consumer in standing up against unfair trade practices as well as claim their rights as a consumer whenever they are exploited with the help of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA). This would help to raise the position of India in comparison to the rest of the world when it comes to the protection of consumer’s rights.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hamma Singh is a third-year law student at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow. Having an avid interest in human rights, animal rights and sports law, she has a substantial experience in blogging, creative writing and legal writing. With a desire to work for the conservation of the environment, she wishes to contribute towards animal welfare and protection. Books, puzzles, swimming and tennis are her other interests.