Consumer Protection Act 2019 comes into force from today

New Delhi (NVI): The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, comes into force from today, replacing the more than 3-decade old Consumer Protection Act 1986.

The new law aims to enforce and protect the rights of consumers, and provide an effective mechanism to address consumer grievances.

While addressing a virtual media conference, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan said, “This new Act will empower consumers and help them in protecting their rights through its various notified Rules and provisions like Consumer Protection Councils, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, Mediation, Product Liability and punishment for manufacture or sale of products containing adulterant / spurious goods.”

He further added that the Act includes establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.

Notable, the CCPA will be empowered to conduct investigations into violations of consumer rights and institute complaints/prosecution, order recall of unsafe goods and services, order discontinuance of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements, impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements.

Paswan also said that the rules for prevention of unfair trade practice by e-commerce platforms will also be covered under this Act.

The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019, was introduced in the Upper House of Parliament by the Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan, on July 8, 2019. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on July 30, 2019 and Rajya Sabha on August 6, 2019. The Bill was then signed into law by President Ram Nath Kovind on August 9 last year.

It has taken almost a year for the new Act to be notified, despite the President’s nod in August 2019. Until now, the Consumer Protection Act (1986) has been in force.

Under the aegis of the new Consumer Protection Act, 2019, a product manufacturer and seller will be liable to provide compensation for injury or damage caused by a defective product or service.

The Act provides for a simplified dispute resolution mechanism, with a provision for mediation and e-filing of cases. The consumers can file complaints at a district or state consumer commission closest to their residence, rather than the location where the service or products were sold. Consumers can drag manufacturers and sellers of adulterated and spurious products to court and claim compensation, as is applicable.

In his concluding remarks, Paswan stated, “The new Act has been introduced after many amendments to provide protection to buyers not only from traditional sellers but also from the new e-commerce retailers/platforms. He said that this Act will prove a significant tool in protecting consumer rights in the country.”

-CHK