Union Cabinet gives nod to Consumer protection Bill, 2015
Union Cabinet approved Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 in order deal with the growing concern over the safety of consumer products and services.
The new bill seeks to replace Consumer Protection Act, 1986 in order to deal with consumer protection and safety. It aims at simplifying the consumer dispute resolution process along with enhancing the pecuniary jurisdiction of the consumer grievance redressal agencies.
Key features of the Bill
- Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA): establishment of CCPA as an apex regulatory authority with more powers to protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
- It will have powers to recall products and initiate action suit against defaulting companies including e-tailers for refunds and return of products.
- Product liability: If product or services causes personal injury, death or damage to property, CCPA will have powers to take action against defaulting manufacturers or service providers.
- Speedy disposal of court cases: In this regard, provision related to ‘mediation’ has been proposed which will act as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. However, mediation will be under the aegis of consumer courts.
- Stringent penalty: In certain cases, the Bill adds stringent penalty provisions including life imprisonment.
- Establishment of circuit bench: For speedy disposal of complaints consumers can file complaints electronically circuit bench along with traditional mechanism of filing complaints in consumer courts that have jurisdiction over the place of residence.
Rationality behind introducing new Bill
- There is a need to modernise the Act to address challenges related to consumer protection effectively.
- In technologically evolved marketing strategies which uses advance methods of multi-level marketing, tele-marketing, direct selling and e-tailing in some cases are providing misleading advertisements.
- It has resulted in new challenges to consumer protection with growing concern over the consumer products and services safety, especially after the Maggi controversy.
- Consumer Protection Act (CPA), 1986 which was amended thrice earlier in 1991, 1993 and 2002 was not capable to deal with the changing scenario of consumer protection effectively.