Consumer Protection Act, 1986 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted in 1986 to protect the interests of consumers in India. It makes provision for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumers’ disputes and for matters connected therewith also.
Aims and Objectives of the Consumer Protection Act
1. Better protection of interests of the consumer: The Act seeks to provide for better protection of the interests of consumers and for that purpose makes provisions for the establishment of consumer councils and other authorities for the settlement of consumer disputed and for matter connected therewith.
2. Protection of rights of consumers: The act is intended to protect following rights of the consumers[under section 6]:
- The right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property.
- The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services, as the case may be so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;
- The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices ;
- The right to be heard and to be assured that consumer’s interest will receive due consideration at appropriate forums;
- The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and
- The right to consumer education.
- Right to a healthy environment.
3. Consumer protection councils: The above objectives are sought to be promoted and protected by the consumer protection councils established at the central and state levels.
4. Quasi-judicial Machinery for speedy redressal of consumer disputes: The act seeks to provide speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes. For this purpose, there has been set-up the quasi-judicial machinery at the district, state and central level. These quasi-judicial bodies are supposed to observe the principles of natural justice and are empowered:
- To give relief of a specific nature, and
- To award, wherever appropriate, compensation to consumers.
Significance of Consumer Protection Act, 1986
1. Protection from Exploitation: In the absence of consumer protection, consumers were exploited in many ways,e.g., sale of unsafe products, adulteration and hoarding of goods,etc. Through various consumer protection Acts to keep away from exploiting consumers.
2. Consumer Education: Importance of consumer protection is to create awareness among consumers about their rights and responsibilities by organising workshops and seminars and gives them confidence to take legal action against companies who have defaulted.
3. Redressal of Complaints: Importance of this act is to present the consumer complaints in appropriate consumer courts and make sure that justice is done to consumers.
4. Quality Life for Consumers: Aim at redressal of consumer complaints in an effective manner but also on giving good quality life to consumers by business organizations that have defaulted on the other side and make sure that justice is done to final consumers.
5. Ethical Obligations and Getting Public Support.
Amendment Act 2002
The Act was again amended by consumer protection Act,2002. The act amendments include the following:
- provision for the creation of benches of the national commission and state commissions as well as holding of circuit benches of these commissions.
- No adjournment to be ordinarily allowed and where allowed, a speaking order giving reasons would be made.
- Enabling provision for charging fee in respect of complaints filed before the consumer disputes redressal agencies.
- Exclusive of services availed for commercial purpose from the purview of the consumer disputes redressal agencies.
- Prescribing minimum qualifications as well as disqualifications for members of the consumer disputes redressal agencies.