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 Act
1. Better protection of interests of consumer
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 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.
Amendment Act 2002
The Act was again amended by consumer protection (Amendment) Act,2002. The act amendments include the following:
- provision for creation of benches of the national commission and state commissions as well as 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 of 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.