17 Hours Ago
11 Problems with the New Consumer Protection Act
The government is planning sweeping changes in the Act, most of which are highly regressive
The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act, 2014, as made available in the website of Department of Consumer Affairs, has certain serious flaws, which will neither benefit the consumer nor the hapless voluntary consumer organisations that work for consumers.
The Act has proposed certain amendments to the Consumer Protection Act that would entrust the job of grievance redressal to a new body, Consumer Protection Authority. In this authority structure, there is neither any place for consumer organisations nor for consumers and activists. There is even a proposal to exclude the value of compensation from the pecuniary jurisdiction of the Forum and Commission, which would restrict consumer litigants to the lowest forums and prevent them from approaching higher bodies. How is this in the interests of the consumers or consumer activism? Here are 11 ways in which the new Act will be regressive step.
1 A. Changing the structure of Consumer Consultations
Consumer Protection Act, 1986 envisages consultations through the Central and the State Councils consisting of different interest groups such as representatives of consumerorganizations, the government –State and Centre, trade and industry, consumer fora, especially, the National Commission and others.
The proposed amendments will eliminate the Central and State Councils. This is a cynical ploy to keep out the consumer groups from the consultation process and in a way raises serious questions about their relevance and role in safeguarding the consumers. So the proposal to convert the Consumer Protection Councils as existing under section-4 to Consumer Protection Authority is ill conceived and should be dropped, to save whatever little consumer movement is prevalent at present.
1 B. Asking District Collectors / District Magistrates, to deal with theconsumer issues
This proposal, on the basis of which the Central Consumer Protection Authority has been envisaged, is practically non-workable. The absurdity is all the more obvious when one considers that at the state and central levels, fully paid government officials are expected to discharge the functions of the Central Authority, while at the district level, where the problems are supposed to emanate and be addressed, an already over burdened District Collector is supposed to do it as a part of his routine.
Read More: New Consumer Protection Act - Moneylife