Lok Sabha passes Consumer Protection Bill, 2019

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The Lok Sabha todaypassed the Consumer Protection Bill 2019 afterdue consideration and discussion.The Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Shri Ram Vilas Paswan said that the bill aims at protecting the interests of consumers by establishing authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers’ dispute. Moving the Bill, Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve said the Bill aims to simplify a number of rules. Shri Danve said consumers do not get quick redressal of their complaints and with the passage of the Bill, consumers will be able to get speedy justice. He said the government aims to simplify the entire process of redressal of consumer grievances.

Under the Bill, there is provision for central government to set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers and will be empowered to investigate, recall, refund and impose penalties. It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements. There is also a provision for class action law suit for ensuring that rights of consumers are not infringed upon. The authority will have power to impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to 10 lakh rupees and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement.

Salient Features of the Bill

1. Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA): Executive Agency to provide relief to a class of consumers. The CCPA will be empowered to-

Conduct investigations into violations of consumer rights and institute Complaints /Prosecution
Order recall of unsafe goods and services
Order discontinuance of Unfair Trade Practices and Misleading Advertisements
Impose penalties on Manufactures /Endorsers /Publishers of Misleading Advertisements
2. Simplified Dispute Resolution process

i) Pecuniary Jurisdiction enhanced to-

District Commission –Up to Rs1 crore
State Commission- Between Rs1 crore and Rs 10 crore
National Commission –Above Rs.10 crore
ii) Deemed admissibility after 21days of filing

iii) Empowerment of Consumer Commission to enforce their orders

iv) Appeals only on question of law after second stage

v) Ease of approaching consumer commission

Filing from place of residence
E-filing
Videoconferencing for hearing
3. Mediation

An Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism
Reference to Mediation by Consumer Forum wherever scope for early settlement exists and parties agree for it.
Mediation cells to be attached to Consumer Forum
No appeal against settlement through mediation
4. Product Liability

A manufacturer or product service provider or product seller to be responsible to compensate for injury or damage caused by defective product or deficiency in services

The Basis for product liability action will be:

Manufacturing defect
Design defect
Deviation from manufacturing specifications
Not conforming to express warranty
Failing to contain adequate instruction for correct use
Services pro

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