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Monday, 24 December 2018

Rise Consumer Rise

Consumer protection bill 2018
On 20th December 2018, the consumer protection bill passed by the lower house of India, the bill will replace the consumer protection Act, 1986. The Bill seeks to establish a national level regulator-central Consumer Protection Authority- to deal with consumer complaints on a proactive measure. The present law does not have a regulator.



What problems consumers are facing?
Consumer rights are not well implemented at present. Consumers get easily exploited in various ways, even after a lot of acts and rules have been passed. 
The main problem faced by consumer is lack of awareness about  their rights and the mechanism to get justice. The consumer doesn’t even know the sources of getting information. Most of the consumers in urban and remote areas are illiterate and they are not able to understand the policies of the company, organization or the government.
Most of the time consumers don’t get authentic and a good quality product even after paying a higher price of the product.
Especially in India consumers are exploited on a large number by seller. Sellers create fake scarcity just to sell the product in higher prices.
Consumers are unaware and leave money due to helplessness on the seller and this helplessness has been taken for granted by the seller. 

Why Indian government replaced consumer protection Act 1986?
Consumer protection Act 1986 is one of the World’s most outstanding and simple enactments by Indian government. Not many countries have a law that is so simple, however, there are some limitation in the Act- 
1 – Services come within this act for which specific payment is made, such as electricity, telephones, banking, etc. Thus the doctors as well as hospitals including those where treatment is given free such as government hospitals do not come within the ambit of Act.
2- Also the mandatory civil services, such as sanitation, water supply, etc. provided by the state or local authorities are not covered by the Act.
3 – The consumer protection (Amendment ACT, 1993) incorporated two Claus regarding supply of hazardous good, but it did not impose a strict liability on those who supply such goods.
4 – The consumer protection Act, 1986, does not give any definition of safety requirements and permitted hazard levels. 
5 – Under the Act a consumer can seek redressal only if he/she has suffered damage as result of the unfair trade practice or deficiency in service or the unfair trade practices resorted to by a trader.
6 – The Act does not empower consumer fora to publish the names of manufacturer’s trader, and dealers whose good are found to be hazardous to public safety.
7 – The Act does not permit a consumer to file a complaint with the consumer forum if alternative remedy is available under some other law.
8- The Act specifies a time frame within which the dispute is to be disposed. The period specified is 90 says, but the actual time taken is much longer. In some cases, the complainants waited for about two years, attended the consumer court several time before they were able to understand that the courts would not be able to handle their cases.

Key features and changes in the consumer protection bill 2018
The bill introduces provisions related to product liability and unfair contacts. It also creates a regulatory body called the central consumer protection Authority and permits meditation for settlement of consumer complaints.
1 - The consumer disputes redressal commissions will be set up at district, state and nationals levels as per the bill passed.
2- District commissions will have the mandate to hear complaints having claim worth one core rupees. In the consumer protection Act, 1986 this limit was 20 lakh rupees.
3 – The limit of the commissions at the state level enhanced from 1 crore rupees to 15 crore rupees.
4 – Complaints above 15 crore rupees worth of claim will be settled by the National Commission.
5- The consumer protection Bill, 2018 has provisions for stringent punishments in the matters of food adulterations.
6- The Bill has the provisions to protect those consumers who use new digital technologies like e-commerce and online shopping.

Since when consumer protection rights are exists
Consumer protection has been practiced in India since ancient time but it is accelerated due to various issues. In India, different Acts have been implemented to protect the consumers against different forms of mistreatment that include:-
-         The India penal code, 1860;
-         Indian contract Act 1872
-         Drug control Act. 1950
-         Industries (Development and regulation) Act 1951
-         Indian standards institution ( certification marks) Act 1952
-         Drug and magic remedies ( objectionable Advertisement) Act 1954
-         Prevention of food Adulteration Act 1954
-         Essential commodities Act 1955
-         Trade and merchandise Marks Act 1958 
-         Consumer protection Act, 1986

                                                                                 picture courtesy :- emaze.com
Role  of voluntary organizations in protection of consumers Rights?
There has always been a significant contribution of such organization for the welfare of consumers. Consumer’s organizations are support groups that seek to protect people from corporate abuse. Unsafe products, predatory lending, false advertising, and pollution are types of corporate abuse. Consumer organizations may operate via remonstration, campaigning or lobbying. Voluntary organizations have major contribution for implementation of consumer rights and serve the consumer better.
 It has been estimated that there are now more than 800 such organizations working in India. They conduct various activities as part of the consumer movement. They perform several functions such as creating awareness about consumer's rights and teaching the general public about consumer difficulties and remedies through seminars, workshops, and training programs. 
These voluntary organizations provide legal help to consumers by way, of assistance in seeking legal solution, undertake advocacy of consumers’ point of view as representative members of consumer protection council and others official boards. In India, government encourages voluntary organization to promote healthy and mass based consumer movement in urban and rural areas.

Importance of consumer protection
Markets are over flooded with products. The products may be adulterated and may be  hazardous for health. This may endanger their life and due to this a consumer needs to be protected. Consumer protection is very important in terms of avoiding monopoly.