Consumer Protection Bill, 2018
Consumer Protection Act, 1986
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986:
- Introduced in the Lok Sabha on 5th December, 1986 to provide better protection in the interest of consumers.
- Enacted as a result of a widespread consumer protection movement in the form of a social welfare legislation.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1956, aims to provide speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes. The thoughtful piece of legislation intends to protect the consumers at large from exploitation.
Who is a Consumer?
Section. 2 (1) (d)of the Consumer Protection Act, 1956, defines ”consumer” as any person who buys any goods for a consideration, who pays or will pay. Hires or avails any service for a consideration for which he has paid or will pay. However, it does not include a person obtaining goods for resale or any commercial purpose.
Rights of a Consumer
Under the the Consumer Protection Act, 1956, Consumers Rights include, the consumers Right to Safety, Right to Redressal, Right to Consumer Education, Right to Information, Right to be Heard.
Consumer Protection Bill, 2018
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 has inserted provision relating to adulteration and misleading ads. It has also inserted punishment for the same. It provides fine up to Rs 50 lakh and jail up to 5 years for manufacturers and service providers for false and misleading ads. Against adulteration, the Bill has provisions for fine up to Rs 10 lakh and life term imprisonment.
“The bill provides for the creation of a central consumer protection authority for the first time, which will effectively be the national regulator for consumer rights. It also provides for prosecution of celebrities endorsing products with misleading claims, including a ban and fines”.
Hindustan Times, Original article, “Cabinet approves new Consumer Protection Bill”, Retrieved on 8th January, 2018.
The objective of the Bill is to “provide for protection of interest of consumers and to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of disputes”. The Bill aims to constitute an executive agency known as ‘Central Consumer Protection Authority’ (CCPA).
Its functions will be:
- to make intervention when necessary
- to prevent detriment arising from unfair trade practice and
- also to initiate class action including enforcing recall, refund and return of products.
Other provision in the bill
The role of Central Consumer Protection Authority is that of the sectoral regulator and also to avoid any duplication of potential conflict
The Bill also has provisions for product liability action. This provision accounts the harm caused to consumers due to a defective product and deficiency in services. It also has provisions for ‘mediation’ as an alternative dispute redressal mechanism. The Bill also has provisions for simplifying the dispute adjudication process by filing it electronically.
The Bill also confers judicial power to district, state and national commissions to punish a person or company for non-compliance of order with power to pronounce imprisonment between one month and three years, as well as a fine between Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,00,000. The Central Consumer Protection Authority will be an executive agency to provide relief to consumers against unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements. The authority can penalise some one for non-compliance of its direction with six months jail or Rs 25 lakh fine, or both.