News: Consumer Protection Act, 2019 comes into force from today.
About Consumer Protection Act, 2019
CP Act, 2019 replaces Consumer Protection Act 1986 and extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Objective: Protection of the interests of consumers by establishment of authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers’ disputes.
Act not only applies to provide protection to buyers from traditional sellers but also from the new e-commerce retailers/platforms.
Central Consumer Protection Council/Central councils shall be set up at central level as an advisory council, headed by the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution with the Minister of State as Vice Chairperson and 34 other members from different fields.
At least one meeting of the Council shall be held every year. Councils will advise on promotion and protection of the consumers’ rights under this Act.
State Consumer Protection Council will be setup in every state on the same line with not more than 10 official or non-official members. Councils will advise on promotion and protection of the consumers’ rights under this Act on the state level.
District Consumer Protection Council will be set up in every District by concerned states under the chairmanship of district collector. Councils will advise on promotion and protection of the consumers’ rights under this Act on the district level.
Consumer Protection Authority
Central Consumer Protection Authority or Central Authority shall be established consisting of a Chief Commissioner and members as prescribed by central government to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
The CCPA will be empowered to
- conduct investigations into violations of consumer rights and institute complaints / prosecution,
- order recall of unsafe goods and services,
- order discontinuance of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements,
- impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements.
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission:
District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission or District Commission, to be set up by state governments in every district. More than one District Commission can be established in a district.
Conditions related to appointment, term of office, resignation and removal of the President and members of the District Commission will be framed by central government, whereas rules regarding r salaries and
allowances and other terms and conditions of service will be framed by state governments.
Any person aggrieved by an order made by the District Commission may prefer an appeal against such order to the State Commission on the grounds of facts or law within a period of forty-five days from the date of the order.
Any person aggrieved by an order made by the State Commission may prefer an appeal against such order to the National Commission within a period of thirty days from the date of the order.
Consumer Mediation Cell:
Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism of Mediation has been provided. A complaint will be referred by a Consumer Commissions for mediation, wherever scope for early settlement exists and parties agree for it.
Mediation will be held in the Mediation Cells to be established under the aegis of the Consumer Commissions. There will be no appeal against settlement through mediation.
Central Government shall establish, by notification, a consumer mediation cell to be attached to the National Commission.
State Government shall establish, by notification, a consumer mediation cell to be attached to each of the District Commissions and the State Commissions.
E-commerce: Rules for prevention of unfair trade practice by e-commerce platforms will also be covered under this Act.
E-commerce entity is required to provide information related to every aspect like charge-back options, return, exchange, grievance redressal mechanism, every imp. payment related aspect including country of origin.
e-commerce platforms have to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within forty-eight hours and redress the complaint within one month from the date of receipt.
Product Liability Action: It brings within its scope, the product manufacturer, product service provider and product seller, for any claim for compensation.
Punishment: The errant businesses will be penalized with up to 6 months in jail or a fine of up to Rs 1 lakh if the consumers do not suffer any injuries.
In cases where the consumer is injured, the fine to the manufacturer, seller or distributor could go up to Rs 5 lakh and up to seven years in jail.
In case of death of the consumer, the culprit will have to pay a minimum fine of Rs 10 lakh and spend seven years in jail, which can be extended to life imprisonment.