Nagpur: March 15, 2015 is observed as the World Consumer Rights Day and it was only appropriate of Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan who said that there is an urgent need for amendments in the Consumer Protection Act. While addressing the media on March 14, 2015, he said that we have a population of about 125 crores. Everyone from the President to the peon is a consumer. The present Act is 18th century Act and needs to be amended. He claimed that there is practically no safety of the consumers.
At the moment we have:
- 1. District Forum to look into the consumer redressal
- 2. The State Forum to look into the consumer grievances at the State level
- 3. The National Council to look into the consumer grievances at Central Government level.
He claimed that there is a delay in the Consumer Courts where often the victims let go of the perpetrators.
- In order to rectify this, his Ministry has given directions to open eight Consumer Suvidha Centres in every state where anyone can lodge a complaint. The complaints have to accept within 15 days.
- He claimed that one can directly go and file a complaint in the Lower Courts and can fight his or her own case. (There is no need for any lawyer). However, this is for any claim with Rs 2 lakhs. He has recommended that the result or the judgement should be within 3 months of filing the case.
- Case disposed off in the District Forum can be appealed in the State forum.
- Product Liability. Till now, if a victim faces any grievance of any service or product, the person is just paid the cost to cover the service or product. However, the new recommendation is that the connected loss with now be evaluated and the erring party will have to pay the amount. This will also include unfair trade practices, where a builder claims to deliver the flat for a particular sum at a particular time frame and goes on extending the time and the cost. Such cases too will be taken up seriously and the builder made to pay the damages.
- The new recommendation for the Consumer Act will look at the complaint not as one person’s complaint but as the society’s complaint and a suitable action is taken so that public at large is not exposed to such problems again.
- Paswan claimed that misleading advertisements too will be brought into the Act’s ambit so that such advertisers are punished.
Ram Vilas Paswan claimed that a Committee will be made at the national-level to look at the suggestions for the amendments of the Act. An Authority will be made to look into other modern-day crimes like those faced by e-commerce. This will include complaints where the customer is shown a product in the computer but when the product is delivered it is not the quality that was advertised. The return option too is not available since the money is already paid.
– Rajeev ranjan kushwaha (rajeev.nagpurto