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Supreme Court on vacancies in consumer dispute bodies


The Supreme Court gave the Centre and the States eight weeks to fill up the vacancies in the consumer disputes redressal commissions.


GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and Interventions, Transparency and Accountability in Governance), GS-III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. SC Judgement on vacancies in consumer dispute bodies
  2. Consumer Protection Act, 2019
  3. Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)

SC Judgement on vacancies in consumer dispute bodies

  • States are defeating the purpose for which the consumer protection laws have been made according to the Supreme Court as it feels that the Centre and the States are seemingly keeping the vacancies pending to dissuade people from filing complaints.
  • The Bench asked the Centre to conduct a comprehensive “legislative impact study” on the Consumer Protection Act of 2019.
  • The SC said that the legislative intent behind the Consumer Protection Act was to empower ordinary citizens, however, the ground reality is different. There is little attempt made to translate the legislative intent to administrative infrastructure, facilities, staff, Members in order for the functioning of the consumer disputes commissions.

Consumer Protection Act, 2019

  • The new Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force 2020 to empower consumers and help them in protecting their rights through its various notified rules and provisions.
  • The new act will be swift and less time consuming compared to the older Consumer Protection Act, 1986 in which single-point access to justice was given making it a time-consuming exercise.
  • The old act provided for a three-tier consumer dispute redressal machinery at the National (National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission), State and District levels. However, The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 establishes the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) whose primary objective will be to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.

Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)

  • Central Consumer Protection Authority is being constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 replacing the 1986 act seeking to widen its scope in addressing consumer concerns, hence CCPA is a Statutory Body.
  • The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 recognises offences such as providing false information regarding the quality or quantity of a good or service, and misleading advertisement.
  • It also specifies action to be taken if goods and services are found “dangerous, hazardous or unsafe”.
  • The CCPA aims to protect the rights of the consumer by cracking down on unfair trade practices, and false and misleading advertisements that are detrimental to the interests of the public and consumers.
  • The CCPA will have the powers to inquire or investigate into matters relating to violations of consumer rights or unfair trade practices suo motu, or on a complaint received, or on a direction from the central government.
  • The CCPA can file complaints of violation of consumer rights or unfair trade practices before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, and the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. It will issue safety notices to alert consumers against dangerous or hazardous or unsafe goods or services.

What will the CCPA do if any goods or services are found not meeting the standards?

Under the act, CCPA will have powers to recall goods or withdrawal of services that are “dangerous, hazardous or unsafe; pass an order for refund the prices of goods or services so recalled to purchasers of such goods or services; and discontinuation of practices which are unfair and prejudicial to consumer’s interest”.

-Source: The Hindu

July 2024