Landmark Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 gets Parliamentary approval

The
Parliament today gave its nod to the landmark Consumer Protection Bill,
2019 which aims to protect the rights of consumers by establishing
authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of
consumers’ dispute. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 30th
July, 2019 and was passed by Rajya Sabha today through a voice vote.
The Bill will replace the more than three decades old Consumer
Protection Act, 1986.
Moving
the bill for consideration and passing in Rajya Sabha, Union Minister
of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Shri Ramvilas Paswan
said that the new legislation would ease the overall process of consumer
grievance redressal. Shri Paswan said that this new bill will provide a
better mechanism to dispose consumer complaints in a speedy manner and
will help in disposal of large number of pending cases in consumer
courts across the nation. Shri Paswan stated that this bill was a long
pending legislation and all the recommendations of the Parliamentary
Standing Committee were incorporated in the bill except for five
recommendations.  Shri Paswan also assured all the members of Parliament
that their suggestions would be incorporated in the rules to the extent
possible within the legal framework.
The
bill, among other things, proposes setting up of a Central Consumer
Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights
of consumers as a class. The CCPA would make interventions to prevent
consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practices. The agency can
also initiate class action, including enforcing recall, refund and
return of products.
The
Bill also envisages simplified dispute resolution process, has
provision for Mediation and e-filing of cases.  The Consumer will be
able to file cases in the nearest commission under the jurisdiction of
which he resides.
For
the first time there will be an exclusive law dealing with Product
Liability. A manufacturer or product service provider or product seller
will now be responsible to compensate for injury or damage caused by
defective product or deficiency in services.
Additional
swift executive remedies are proposed in the bill through CCPA. There
are provisions for deterrent punishment to check misleading
advertisements and adulteration of products. Product liability provision
to deter manufacturers and service providers from delivering defective
products or deficient services. The Bill also enables regulations to be
notified on E-commerce and direct selling with focus on protection of
interest of consumers.