New Consumer Protection Bill with more teeth gets govt nod
Under the older Act, consumers had to visit court for filing their complaints, and the court took years to resolve the case, but in the new bill, they can lodge a complaint while sitting at home.
The much-awaited Consumer Protection Bill has finally received in-principle nod from Union Cabinet with some modification.
An ANI tweet stated, "Cabinet approves introduction of Consumer Protection Bill, 2017 and withdrawal of Consumer Protection Bill, 2015; to enlarge scope of the existing Consumer Protection Act and make it more effective and purposeful."
Last year in April, a Parliamentary Standing Committee had submitted its recommendations on the bill.
The Centre had introduced the Consumer Protection Bill in the Lok Sabha in the month of August 2015, to replace over three decade old Consumer Protection Act.
Former Consumers Affair secretary L Mansing said, "The new Consumer Protection Bill can be described as proactive compared to the bill which we have been following since years."
Under the older bill, consumers had to visit court for filing their complaints, and the court took years to resolve the case, but in the new bill, they can lodge a complaint while sitting at home, explained Mansing.
The new bill has proposed a central consumer authority which will act as a proactive body to protect the interest of consumers, he added.
Bejon Misra, Consumer activist said, "The Central consumer authority will be a game changer for consumer and India."
Here are a few highlights of the new Consumer Protection Bill:
Firstly, under the amended Act, a Central Consumer Protection Authority will be set to work faster for redressal of consumers' complaints.
The authority will take up action against a company's product if similar problems are raised by a group of consumers.
Further, it has provisions for penalty and jail if a consumer has been misled and adulterated by companies.
In case of misleading advertisement, the bill also levies ban and fine on celebrities who are endorsing the brand. The fine may go up to Rs 10 lakh along with a one-year ban. On second offence, the fine can be raised to Rs 50 lakh with a ban of 3 years.
For manufactures and companies, a penalty of Rs 10 lakh and 2 years jail term during the first offence. It can go up to Rs 50 lakh and 5 years jail for continuous offence.
The bill will not spare even e-commerce players.