Consumer Protection Bill gets Parliament approval

The Parliament today gave its approval to the landmark Consumer Protection Bill, 2019, which aims to protect the rights of consumers by establishing authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumer disputes. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 30 July 2019 and the Rajya Sabha passed it today through a voice vote. The bill will replace the more than three decades old Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Moving the bill for consideration and passing in Rajya Sabha, union minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution Ramvilas Paswan said the new legislation would ease the overall process of consumer grievance redressal. The minister said the new bill will provide a better mechanism to resolve consumer complaints in a speedy manner and will help in disposal of large number of pending cases in consumer courts across the nation. 
The bill, he said, was a long pending legislation and all the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee were incorporated in the bill except for five recommendations.  Paswan also assured members of Parliament that their suggestions would be incorporated in the rules to the extent possible within the legal framework.
The bill, among other things, proposes setting up of a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class. The CCPA would make interventions to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practices. The agency can also initiate class action, including enforcing recall, refund and return of products.
The bill envisages simplified dispute resolution process and has provision for mediation and e-filing of cases. The consumer will be able to file cases in the nearest commission under the jurisdiction of which he resides.
For the first time there will be an exclusive law dealing with `product liability’. A manufacturer or product service provider or product seller will now be responsible to compensate for injury or damage caused by defective product or deficiency in services.
Additional swift executive remedies are proposed in the bill through CCPA. There are provisions for deterrent punishment to check misleading advertisements and adulteration of products. Product liability provision is intended to deter manufacturers and service providers from delivering defective products or deficient services. The bill also enables regulations to be notified on e-commerce and direct selling with focus on protection of interest of consumers.