Consumer Protection Act Kicks In From July 20

Consumer Protection Act Kicks In From July 20

New Delhi, 17 July 2020:


Most provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, will come into force from July 20, even though the government has not taken a decision on provisions relating to e-commerce, including its definition, and those relating to the constitution of an apex Central Consumer Protection Authority at the national level.


The Ministry of Consumers Affair on Wednesday notified a majority of the provisions, including the establishment of State-level consumer protection councils and district consumer redressal commissions, and clauses relating to mediation and product liability.


But the provisions relating to e-commerce and direct selling have not been addressed.


The Act provides for mediation as an alternative dispute settlement mechanism so that disputes can be resolved faster without having to approach the commissions. Interestingly, the Act has a provision to use mediation to resolve disputes either in whole or in parts.


The Act seeks to provide enhanced protection of consumers’ interests and timely settlement of their grievances. It also brings into its ambit the e-commerce trade, even though the provisions relating to it have not been notified.


The Act received the President’s asset in August last year and replaced the earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986.


The Act provides for a powerful national consumer protection body – the Central Consumer Protection Authority – and an independent investigation wing headed by a Director General, but these provisions, too, are yet to be notified.


Likewise, many provisions relating to the liabilities of and penalties on product manufacturers, misleading advertisers and personalities who endorse products and services without proper due diligence, have not been notified.


The Act has enhanced the pecuniary jurisdiction of district commissions and State councils considerably. While district commissions can entertain complaints where the value of goods and services was up to Rs 1 crore, State councils can take consumer complaints ranging between Rs 1 crore and Rs 10 crore. These bodies have also been stricter timelines of up to 30 days to dispose of the cases come before them.


It has also brought a key concept of ‘product liability’, wherein action may be brought in against a product manufacturer, product service provider or product seller for any harm caused to the complainant on account of a defective product. The Act also clearly defines the break-up of liabilities for them. The Hindu Businessline