Consumer Protection Bill 2019 passed by Lok Sabha
The Consumer Protection Bill that seeks to ensure faster dispute redressal for consumer complaints has been passed by the Lok Sabha.
The Consumer Protection Bill 2019 that seeks to protect and enforce consumer rights was passed through a voice vote by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. The Consumer Protection Bill seeks to establish the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA).
The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) will take immediate action on complaints filed by consumers. The authority will take action after a complaint is filed by even a single consumer and it can also file a class suit. The bill was introduced on July 8.
The Consumer Protection Bill 2019 Objective
The main objective of the Consumer Protection Bill is to ease the process of addressing the grievances of consumers.
Consumer Protection Bill 2019
The Consumer Protection Bill 2019 seeks to replace the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The bill proposes setting up of a Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and forums at the district, state and national levels for fast redressal of consumer complaints.
Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)
Central Consumer Protection Authority is a national level regulator dealing with matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices and false or misleading advertisements that are prejudicial to the interests of public and consumers.
The CCPA deals with the rights of consumers as a class. It will comprise an investigation wing headed by a Director-General with powers of search and seizure. The District Collector is empowered to report to the CCPA regarding mass consumer complaints in the concerned jurisdiction.
Further, the CCPA has the power to order a recall of goods that are deemed dangerous, hazardous or unsafe and to direct discontinuation of practices that are unfair and prejudicial to the interests of consumers. The CCPA also has the power to file complaints before the relevant Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum. It can also impose penalties on manufacturers and celebrity endorsers for misleading advertisements.
• The Consumer Protection Bill aims to protect consumers' interests through a redressal mechanism that would ensure timely and effective settlement of disputes.
• It seeks to enlarge the scope of the existing law and make it more effective and purposeful.
• It seeks to establish a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to protect consumer rights and look into the issues related to false or misleading ads.
• It has provisions for post-litigation stage mediation as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. It also provides for product liability action.
Consumer Protection Bill: Penalties
• The bill provides for fine and ban on celebrities for endorsing misleading advertisements:
• In the case of the first offence, the penalty would include a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh and a one-year ban on any endorsement.
• For the second offence, the penalty would include a fine of up to Rs 50 lakh and a three-year-ban on endorsements.
• For manufacturers and companies, the penalty would be up to Rs 10 lakh and up to two years of jail term for the first offence.
• For any subsequent offence, the manufacturers and companies would have to pay a fine of Rs 50 lakh and serve a jail term of 5 years.
• The bill also provides for penalty up to life term jail sentence in case of adulteration.
Consumer Protection Bill: Background
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018, was introduced in the Lok Sabha in January 2018 and it was passed in December 2018. The bill was pending in Rajya Sabha and it got lapsed after the Lok Sabha was dissolved to pave way for Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
Hence, the ruling government tabled a new consumer protection bill in the ongoing Lok Sabha session.