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Union Government filed complaint against Maggi under Section 12(1)(d) of Consumer Protection Act

Jun 5, 2015 13:00 IST

Section 12(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986: Enables the government to approach Consumer Forum to protect interests of consumers.

The Section 12(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was in news as the Union Government filed a complaint under it for the first time in nearly three decades since the enactment of the act.

The Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution on 3 June 2015 filed a complaint with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) against Maggi, the brand of instant soups and noodles owned by Nestle.

The government took this decision against the backdrop of alleged lapses related to food safety standards in Maggi noodles containing high levels of lead and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).

The Section 12(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 says that a complaint in relation to any goods sold or delivered or agreed to be sold or delivered or any service provided or agreed to be provided may be filed with a District Forum by the Central Government or the State Government.

They may file the complaint, as the case may be, either in its individual capacity or as a representative of interests of the consumers in general.

Under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, if the allegations are proved, a fine of up to 5 lakh rupees and imprisonment of up to 6 years in case of grievous injury to the consumer and imprisonment of minimum 7 years and fine of not less than 10 lakh rupees in case of death will be awarded to the guilty.

In the related incident, the Union Government asked the central food safety regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which comes under the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare to inquire into the matter.

Incidentally, the World Health Organisation (WHO) selected the theme From farm to plate, make food safe for the World Health Day (WHD) 2015 which was observed globally on 7 April 2015.

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