National Consumers Right Day 2020: All you need to know
National Consumers Right Day 2020: It is observed on 24 December to raise awareness about the rights of consumers and responsibilities.
The aim of the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act is to provide safeguards to consumers against various types of exploitation like defective goods, deficiency in services, and unfair trade practices.
On 6 August 2019, the Indian Parliament passed the landmark Consumer Protection Bill, 2019. The Bill replaced the more than three decades old Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Key features of the Consumer Protection Bill are as follows:
- A consumer is a person who buys any goods or avails a service for consideration. It does not consist of a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purposes. It also covers transactions through several modes like offline, online via electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing, or direct selling.
- In the Bill, six rights as per the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 are mentioned.
- Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) will set up by the central government to promote, protect, and enforce the rights of consumers. It will regulate matters related to violation of consumers, rights, unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements.
- CCPA has an investigation wing, headed by a Director-General to conduct inquiry or investigation for such types of violations.
- The functions of CCPA will be
1. To inquire about the violations of consumer rights, investigating and launching prosecution at the appropriate forum.
2. According to the Bill, to pass orders, to recall goods or withdraw hazardous services, reimbursement of the price paid, and discontinuation of the unfair trade practices.
3. Directions are issued to the trader, manufacturer, endorser, advertiser, publisher, etc. to discontinue a false or misleading advertisement or to modify it.
4. To impose penalties
5. To issue safety notices to consumers against unsafe goods and services.
- There will be penalties for misleading advertisements on a manufacturer or an endorser and for that CCPA impose penalties of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years. In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may be extended to Rs 50 lakh and five years imprisonment.
- For the period of up to one year, CCPA can also prohibit the endorser of a misleading advertisement from endorsing that particular product or service.
- At the district, state, and national levels, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions (CDRCs) will be set up.
- The complaints will be entertained by the District CDRC where the value of goods and services does not exceed Rs one crore. The State CDRC will see to the complaints when the value is more than Rs one crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore. National CDRC will see the complaints with the value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore.
- Liability of product means it is the liability of the product manufacturer, service provider, or seller to compensate a consumer for any harm or injury caused by a defective good or service.
Therefore, we can say that the new Act of 2019 will tighten the existing rules to further safeguard the rights of the consumers including the introduction of a central regulator, strict penalties for misleading advertisements, guidelines for e-commerce and electronic service providers, etc.
About the Consumer Protection Act,1986
As discussed above, The Consumer Protection Bill, 1986 was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and also received the assent of the President on 24 December, 1986. It will provide the protection of the interests of the consumers and provisions are made to establish Consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of the disputes of consumers and matters connected with them.
The provisions of the act are as follows:
- To protect the rights against the marketing of goods that are hazardous to life and property.
- To protect the consumer against unfair trade practices by informing about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard, and price of goods.
- It is necessary to assure the rights wherever possible and at competitive prices access to an authority of goods.
- It is necessary to assure the interests of consumers that will receive due consideration at appropriate forums.
- It is important to seek the right of grievance against unfair trade practices or exploitation of consumers.
- Right to consumer education
- The Consumer Protection Council that will be established at the Central and State level will promote and protect these objects.
- A quasi-judicial machinery is sought to set up at the district, State and Central levels.
Let us tell you that the bill recognises six out of the eight rights of the consumer as provided in the UN charter. These six rights are: Right to Protection, Right of Information, Right of Choice, Right of Hearing, Right of Redressal and Right of Education. Do you know that World Consumer Rights Day is also celebrated across the globe on 15 March?
How is National Consumer Right Day celebrated?
This year the department of civil supplies and consumer affairs will celebrate National Consumer Rights Day by educating consumers about their rights. A discussion on 'A turning point for the Indian consumer: The Consumer Protection Act' will be presented by Dr. Shaber Ali from V M Salgaoncar College of Law at Sanskruti Bhavan, Patto. Speeches will also be given by secretary civil supplies and consumer affairs, Isha Khosla and minister for civil supplies and consumer affairs Govind Gaude.
Ram Naik, a magician will also perform and highlight the rights and responsibilities of consumers.