Every year,March 15 observed as “World Consumer Right Day”. Its significance is that in 1962 on this day,John Fitzgerald kennedy, President of the US declared four consumer rights. Later,International Organization of Consumers Union (IOCU) added four more rights to the list. The Government of India too included these rights in its 20-point program. These have also been incorporated in the United Nations Charter of Human Rights. Section 6 of the Act recognize the following Consumer rights:
- Right to safety
- Right to be informed.
- Right to Choose.
- Right to be Heard.
- Right to Redress.
- Right to Healthy Environment.
- Right to Consumer Education.
- Right to Basic Needs.
In our country too,the government has been adding impetus to this movement through various schemes and measures. The late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi approved the 17 th point of her 20-point program to consumer protection. The first step in the direction was the setting-up of the National Consumer Council at Delhi. To promote the formation of voluntary consumer organizations,state and central governments have also provided for the disbursal of funds. The Central Government has encouraged the growth of certain units in various departments.Which are concerned with consumer awareness:
1. Right to Safety: The goods or services used/bought should not be hazardous to the health or life of consumers. The products available in the market should not bring any physical danger to them.
2. Right to be Informed: Consumers should be protected against fraudulent, deceitful or grossly misleading information,advertising,labeling or other practices. They should be provided with full information concerning the product or services such as the quality and performance standards,ingredients of the product,operational requirements,possible adverse side effects,etc. This right also enable consumers to make a better choice and bargain.
3. Right to Choose: Consumers should be assured, Wherever possible of access to a variety of products and services at competitive price. Even in a competitive market,consumer should have an assurance of satisfactory quality and services at fair price.
4. Right to be Heard: Consumer should be assured that their interest will receive full and sympathetic consideration in the formulation of Government policy and fair and expeditious treatment in its administrative tribunals.
5. Right to seek Redressal: The right to redressal includes compensation in the form of money or replacement of goods or repair of defect in the goods as per the satisfaction of consumer. Various redressal forums are set up by the government at national level and state level.
6. Right to consumer Education: It is easier for literate consumers to know their rights and take actions but this right assures that illiterate consumer can seek information about the existing acts and agencies are set up for their protection. The government of India has included consumer education in the school curriculum and in various university courses. Government is also making use of media to make the consumers aware of their rights and make wise use of their money.
7. Right to a Healthy Environment: The products or services supplied to the public should not bring any harmful effect to the physical environment. They should pollute air water. They should not adversely affect the lives of users as well as non-users. Every consumer has the right to a healthy environment.
8. Right to Basic Needs: The right to basic needs means the right to basic goods and services which guarantee survival. It includes adequate food,clothing,shelter,healthcare,education and sanitation.