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PARLIAMENT BILLS

The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019



KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BILL

The Bill seeks to replace the earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Its key features includes following :
  • The Bill defines Consumer as a 'person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration'. 
    • The definition does not includes a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose. 
    • It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, tele-shopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.
  •  The Bill defines a set of Consumer Rights which includes the following :
    1. Right to be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property; 
    2. Right to be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services; 
    3. Right to be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and 
    4. Right to seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.
  • Provision for Central Consumer Protection Authority(CCPA)
    • The central government to set up a CCPA to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.  It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.  
    • The CCPA will have an investigation wing, which will be headed by a Director-General, which may conduct inquiry or investigation into such violations.
    • Functions of CCPA includes :
      • It will inquire into violations of consumer rights, investigating and launching prosecution at the appropriate forum; 
      • It will pass orders to recall goods or withdraw services that are hazardous, reimbursement of the price paid, and discontinuation of the unfair trade practices, as defined in the Bill; 
      • It will issue directions to the concerned trader/ manufacturer/ endorser/ advertiser/ publisher to either discontinue a false or misleading advertisement, or modify it; 
      • It will oversee the imposition of penalties, and; 
      • It will issue safety notices to consumers against unsafe goods and services.
  • Penalties in case of Misleading Advertisement 
    • A fine up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years. If there is a case of repeated offence, the fine may extend up to  Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.
  • Establishment of Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission(CDRC)
    • CDRC will be set up at district, state and national level.
    • A CDRC can address the complaints related to 
      • Unfair or restrictive trade practices; 
      • Defective goods or services; 
      • Overcharging or deceptive charging; and 
      • The offering of goods or services for sale which may be hazardous to life and safety.
    • Complaints against an unfair contract can be filed with only the State and National  Level Commissions whereas,  appeals from a District CDRC will be heard by the State CDRC.  
    • Appeals from the State CDRC will be heard by the National CDRC.  Final appeal will lie before the Supreme Court.
  • Jurisdiction of CDRCs
    • The District CDRC will entertain complaints where value of goods and services is not more than Rs 1 crore.  
    • The State CDRC will come to play in case the value is more than Rs 1 crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore.  
    • Complaints with value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the National CDRC.
  • Provision for the product liability 
    • It means the liability of a product manufacturer, service provider or seller to compensate a consumer for any harm or injury caused by a defective good or deficient service.  
    • To claim compensation, a consumer has to prove any one of the conditions for defect or deficiency, as given in the Bill.

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