Lok Sabha Passes Consumer Protection Bill, 2018
Author: Rajnish Kumar, ICFAI Law School. Dehradun.
The Lok Sabha passes the consumer protection bill 2018 which wants totally to replace Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
The bill seeks a national level regulator-Central Consumer Protection Authority – to deal with consumer complaints on a Proactive measure. The present law doesn’t have a regulator.
The bill contains main provisions like dealing with the class action, product liability, misleading advertisements, liability for celebrity endorsements etc. This bill also addresses new developments like e-commerce, direct-selling, telemarketing etc.
The highlights of the bills are:-
Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)-
CCPA is a national level regulating body which deals with matters relating to violation of consumer’s right.
Chapter iii of the bill contains provisions regarding CCPA.
CCPA deals with the right of consumers as a class. it will have an investigating department which will be headed by Director general and has the power of search and seizure.
The district collector of a district is empowered to report to the CCPA regarding consumer’s complaints in the concerned jurisdiction.
It has the power to order the recall of goods which are dangerous or unsafe and unjust for the consumers.
On the basis of the inquiry report, CCPA has the power to lodge complaints before the consumer dispute redressal forum
- Enhanced Pecuniary Jurisdiction :
The limits of financial jurisdiction have been expanded in the following manner:
- District forum- Rs 1 crore from Rs 20 lakhs.
- State commission – Rs 10 crore from Rs 1 crore.
- National commission – Above Rs 10 crore from Rs 1 crore
The bill also mandates the consumer fora and commission to explore mediation possibilities before adjudicating the complaints.
- Offences :
The bill makes violation of consumer right punishable offences and chapter vii of this bill deals with them.
The bill also addresses the menace of the adulteration, by making manufacture, sale, shortage of product mixed with adulteration punishable offenses.
The bill also contains an expanded definition for “unfair trade practices” and “unfair contracts” under clause 2(47)and 2(46)respectively.
The Central government is empowered to make any rules to regulate direct selling multi-level marketing, e-commerce, tele-shopping etc.