The World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated every year on March 15. The day is observed to raise awareness about a consumer’s rights and needs so as to enable the consumer to fight against social injustices. The World Consumer Rights Day 2021 theme is to gather all the consumers in a fight to “Tackle Plastic Pollution”.
The consumer movement in India started in 1966 from Maharashtra. After the establishment of the Grahak Panchayat in Pune in the year 1974, institutions for consumer welfare were formed in many states and this movement continued to grow. On 9 December 1986, the Consumer Protection Bill was passed on the initiative of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and came into force nationwide after the President’s signature. Last year, on 20 July, an amendment in this law has been made to make customers more empowered, competent.
The Central Government has made several major changes in the Consumer Protection Act. After the enactment of the new consumer law, the accountability of companies and artists who advertise for them has become more than ever. The government has also included e-commerce companies under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (Consumer Protection Act, 2019).
Consumer right in India-
- Can file complaint anywhere
Under the new rule, consumers can now file a complaint in any commission. Earlier, the case used to be registered only where the goods manufacturing company’s office was situated.
- Celebrities accountable too
Now, the provision of punishment and fine has also been applied to celebrities for misleading advertisements. In such a situation, celebrities now choose advertisements after thinking very carefully.
- Online shopping companies included
E-commerce companies have been included in the new law. That is, now online shoppers do not have to depend on customer care for the product or service, they can also register their complaint.
- Vendor also in scope
Now the seller will also be under the purview of this law. If a shopkeeper is selling goods at more than the fixed MRP, then legal action is possible against him.
- Fine or jail on adulteration practice
Now, food items have also been brought under the purview of this law. That is, there is a provision of fine and jail on companies for adulteration of food and drink. Sentence of 6 months in case of adulteration, while death of a customer due to adulteration can be punishable with life imprisonment.
- Complaint handling
Earlier, up to Rs 20 lakhs at the district level, Rs 1 crore at the state level, while complaints of more than this amount could be heard at the national level. Now, the District Commission has gone up to Rs 1 crore, the State Commission will hear cases of funds up to Rs 10 crores, while complaints of higher value cases can be appealed at the national level.
- Class action suits against companies
If different cases of a company against its product are in many places, then big companies will have to be afraid of class action suits in India too.
- Department will become an intermediary
Customer arbitration cell has been formed, now both parties can opt for arbitration by mutual consent.
- Right to information to the customer
Under this, he can get information about the product or service, such as information about the quantity, capacity, quality, purity, level and price of the item.
- Customer’s right to redress grievances
It has been made mandatory for the company to redress any problem or inconvenience of the customer.
- Company can not pressurize for service or product
The customer cannot be forced to make a purchase. Till the customer is not convinced and does not check the item, he cannot be asked to purchase it forcibly.
- Those who advertise in exaggerated manner can go to jail
The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), an organization that examines the authenticity of advertisements, the Consumer Protection Act 2019, has advised all advertisers to avoid promoting misleading information.
The ASCI has hoped that the new act will have a significant impact on misleading advertisements. ASCI will soon begin monitoring potential misleading advertisements appearing on digital media with surveillance on print and TV. Under this new law, consumers can register their complaints with the District or State Consumer Commissioner, where they reside, rather than from where they purchased the above product / service.
WORLD CONSUMER RIGHTS DAY OBSERVED IN JAMMU
Directorate of Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, Jammu, in collaboration with Department of Legal Metrology, celebrated the world Consumer Day 2021 with the theme ‘Tackle plastic pollution’.
Amit Gupta, Additional Advocate General was the chief guest on the occasion. Yash Pal Gupta, president federation of Retailers association, Neeraj Anand president chambers of trader’s federation, Joint Director FCS&CA Shagun Sharma, Deputy Director FCS&CA Javed Iqbal, Assistant Directors and officials of the directorate , besides civil society members, were present on the occasion.
World Consumer Rights Day is observed every year on March 15, since 1983 with the aim to raise global awareness about consumer rights and needs. The day was inspired by President John F Kennedy’s special message to the US Congress on March 15, 1962. On this day every year, various organisations like Consumer International hold events and campaigns to inform more and more people about consumer rights.The theme of the World Consumer Rights Day 2021 is ‘Tackle plastic pollution’.
Director FCSCA Jatinder Singh, while terming the issue of Plastic pollution as one of the most pressing problem facing present times, stressed upon the officials to implement all the measures available in various statue books to tackle its misuse. “All of us should work with dedication and in a mission mode to keep the consumer aware about all the legal rights and remedies available to them” Singh added.Amit Gupta, highlighted various provisions of consumer rights Act, which provides consumers with the many rights including, Right to be heard at an appropriate forum, right to seek redressal in case of unfair trade practices, right to consumer education and Right to goods and services at competitive prices, among others.
While highlighting the legal aspects involved in implementing the various provisions enshrined in the Act, Gupta laid stressed on the technical aspects and cautioned the officials to work within the legal purview to implement any stringent measures.
Joint Director FCS&CA Shagun Sharma also highlighted the need to aware the masses about the consumer rights and remedies available to them for their grievance redressal.The programme ended with the vote of thanks by Deputy Director FCS&CA Javed Iqbal.