The following are the various ways and means of consumer protection followed in India
Lok Adalats are the effective and economical system for quick redressal of the public grievances. The aggrieved party can directly approach the adalats with his grievance and his problems are discussed on the spot and decisions are taken quickly.
Public Interest Litigation (PIL)
Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is a scheme under which any person can move to the court of law in the interest of the society. It includes efforts to provide legal remedy to unrepresented groups and interests. Such groups may consist of consumers, minorities, poor persons, environmentalists and others. Any person or organisation, though not a party to the grievances, can approach the court for remedial action in case of any social atrocities.
Redressal Forums and Consumer Protection Councils
A judicial system has been set up to deal with the consumer grievances and disputes at district level, state level and national level, Under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. These are known as district forum, state consumer disputes redressal commission (state commission) and national consumer disputes redressal commission (national commission). Any individual consumer or association of consumers can lodge a complaint with the district, state or national level forum, depending on the value of goods and claim for compensation.
The Act as amended in 2002, also provides or setting up of consumer protection council at district, state and national level for promotion and protection of the rights of the consumers as laid down in Section 6 of the Act.
To improve the level of awareness among the consumers the government of India has initiated various publicity measures. It regularly brings out journals, brochures, booklets and various posters depicting the rights and responsibilities of consumers, redressal machineries etc. It observes World Consumer Right Day on 15 March and National Consumer Day on 24 December.
A number of laws have been enacted in India to safeguard the interest of consumers and protect them from unscrupulous and unethical practices of the businessmen. Some of these acts are as follows 1. Drug Control Act, 1950
- Drug Control Act, 1950
- Agricultural Products (grading and marketing) Act, 1937
- Industries (development and regulation) Act, 1951
- Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954
- Essential Commodities Act, 1955
- The Standards of Weights and Measures Act, 1956
- Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969
- Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Essential Supplies Act, 1980
- Bureau of Indian Standard Act, 1986
Consumer Protection Act, 1986
The Consumer Protection Act was passed in 1986 and it came into force from I July, 1987. The main objectives of the Act are to provide better and all round protection to consumers and effective safeguards against different types of exploitation such as defective goods, deficient services and unfair trade practices. It also makes provisions for a simple, speedy and inexpensive machinery for redressal of consumer's grievances.
The salient features of Consumer Protection Act (CPA), 1986 are as follows
- It applies to all goods, services and unfair trade practices unless specifically exempted by the Central Government.
- It covers all sectors-private, public or co-operative.
- It provides for establishment of consumer protection councils at the central, state and district levels to promote and protect the rights of consumers and a three-tier quasi-judicial machinery to deal with consumer's grievances and disputes.
- It provides a statutory recognition to the six rights of consumers.
Goods and Services Covered Under CPA, 1986
The term 'goods' under this Act has the same meaning as under the sale of goods Act. Accordingly it covers all types of movable property other than money and includes stocks and shares, growing crops etc. The term 'service' means service of any description made available to potential users and includes banking; financing, housing construction, insurance, entertainment, transport, supply of electrical and other energy, boarding and lodging, amusement, etc. The services of doctors, engineers, architects, lawyers etc are also to he included under the provisions of Consumer Protection Act.