Introduction – Consumer Protection Act
The latest notification issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution discusses the Consumer Protection Act 2019 shall come into force from 20th July 2020.
Who is Consumer according to the Consumer Protection Act, 2019?
According to the Act, a consumer is defined as a person who buys any goods or avails a service for a consideration. The Act doesn’t include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purposes. Now the Act includes transactions through all modes including offline and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing, or direct selling.
Key Highlights of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019:
- The District forum is renamed as District Commission.
- Under this Act, The word “Complainant” shall extend and applicable to parents or legal guardians of a minor who is a consumer.
- The rights of consumers are as follows:
- Protection against the marketing of products and services which are hazardous to life and property.
- It is the right of the consumer to get protection against any unfair trade practices along with the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard, and price of goods, products, or services.
- Also, the Consumer has access to various goods and services at competitive prices.
- One of the main highlights of this Act is that Consumer’s interests will receive due consideration and protection at the appropriate forum
- The Consumer may apply for grievance against any unfair trade practice, restrictive trade practices, and unethical exploitation of consumers.
- The limitation period for appeal filing before State Commission is extended from 30 days to 45 days while retaining the power to condone the delay.
- Previously, the limit was of a maximum of Rs. 25,000/-, that has been eliminated whereas, the Opposite Party will deposit 50% of the amount on the order of District Commission before filing an appeal before State Commission,
- The original pecuniary jurisdiction of the District Commission shall be up to Rs. 1 Crore, for State Commission from 1 Cr – 10 Cr. And for NCDRC to be more than Rs. 10 crores.
- The complainant has the right to file the complaint within the territorial jurisdiction of the commission where he/she is residing or working for gain besides what was provided earlier.
- According to the new amendment, the State Commission shall have a minimum of one President and four Members.
- Under Section 49(2) and 59(2) of the Consumer Protection Act, the power to the State Commission and NCDRC is respectively to declare any terms of a contract, to be null and void which is unfair for the consumer.
- Section 40, 50, and 60 states about the review of power which has been conferred to District Commission, State Commission, and NCDRC respectively.
- As per section 58 of the Act, NCDRC can hear appeals against the order of Central Authority.
- As stated in Section 69, the period of limitation in the filing of complaint remains 2 years with a provision for condonation of delay power.
- For any substantial question of law involved in any matter, a right to a second appeal to NCDRC has been provided under section 51(3).
- This Act also gives the power of revision that can still be exercised by NCDRC Under section 58(1)(b) and by the State commission under section 47(1)(b) of the Act.
- Section 70 states about the executive control of the State Commission over the District Commission and that of NCDRC over the State Commission. This section deals with an investigation which includes any type of allegations against the President and members of a State Commission / District Commission.
- Similarly, Section 71 of the Act provides the power of execution as per Order XXI of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 with such limitation.
- Under this new Act, mediation is given statutory status under section Section 74.
- A complainant may bring product liability action against a product manufacturer or a product service provider or a product seller, as the case may be, for any kind of loss or damage caused to the consumer on account of a defective product.
- According to the Chapter III of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 states for the creation of a Central Authority to regulate matters relating to a violation of rights of consumers as explained above which are prejudicial to the interests of the public and consumers and to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class.
- The Investigation Wing is constituted that is headed by a Director-General for the purpose of conducting internal inquiry or investigation under this Act or as directed by the Central Authority.
- This amended Act has come into effect on 9 August 2019 and the old Act of 1986 stands repealed, subject to section 1(3) of the New Act.