Study Notes on Law of Torts: Consumer Protection Act, 1986 – UNIT V
Consumer Protection Act, 1986
What are the objects of the Central Consumer Protection Council?
The Central Council is an important and potential body for the development of consumer movement, and also helpful for the protection of consumers. It plays a catalyst role in the consumer movement and educates the consumers. The Council plays a vital role in creating consumer awareness.
The objectives of the Central Council is to promote and protect the rights of the consumers such as:-
- Protect the consumer rights
- Promote the consumer development in the Country
- Investigates and makes police recommendations on the legislative and administrative action in the interests of consumers
- Give wide publicity among consumers
- Function as a catalyst in the consumer protection programme.
- Only recommendary in nature
- the right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property
- the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services, as the case may be so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices
- the right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices
- the right to be heard and to be assured that consumer’s interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums
- the right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and
- the right to consumer education.
Explain the composition, powers and jurisdiction of National Commission.
National Commission is also called as National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
The objective of the National Commission are to render legal remedies to the aggrieved consumers and to protect from exploitation and dangers.
The decisions of the National Commission have binding force through out the country. They have the power of precedent and binding force on the lower courts, except Supreme Court. It is the highest judicial authority in the field of consumer disputes.
The State Commissions and the District Consumer for a shall have to follow the decisions of the National Commission
It is a quasi-judicial authority, filled by the judicial and non-judicial members. It functions as a court.
It is the highest authority in the Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies. It can hear appeals from the District Consumer Forums and State Commissions. The violators of its decisions shall be punished under the contempt of court proceedings.
The National Commission shall have to work on all the working hours and working days as a Central Government Department Works.
“Services”, under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
State the procedure to be followed by the District Consumer Forum on the receipt of a complaint.
Jurisdiction of District Forum
1) – Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the District Forum shall have jurisdiction to
entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and the compensation, if any, claimed does not exceed rupees twenty lakhs.
2) – A complaint shall be instituted in a District Forum within the local limits of whose jurisdiction:-
- a) – the opposite party or each of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain, or
- b) – any of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides, or carries on business or has a branch office, or personally works for gain, provided that in such case either the permission of the District Forum is given, or the opposite parties who do not reside, or carry on business or have a branch office, or personally work for gain, as the case may be, acquiesce in such institution; or
- c) – the cause of action, wholly or in part, arises.
Explain in detail the composition, appointment and jurisdiction of State Commission.
State Commission is popularly known as Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
Sections 16 to 19 of Chapter III of the Act explain the provisions about the composition, jurisdiction, procedure, vacancies, appeals, etc., of the State Commission. Each State is authorized by its State Consumer Protection Rules to establish one State Commission for its territory.
The objects of State Commission are to protect the consumers’r rights by redressing. It is a redressal agency.
The decisions of the State Commission are just like the judgments of High Court. They are legal remedies to the aggrieved consumers. The decisions should be implemented. The persons who violate the decisions are liable under contempt of court proceedings.
It is a quasi-judicial authority, filled up by judicial and non-official members. Its decisions are binding on District Consumer Forums. They have the power of precedent.
The State Commission has appellate powers. It can hear the appeals from the District Consumer Forums. Moreover, the aggrieved party from the decisions of the State Commission can appeal to the National Commission
The State Commission shall have the working hours and working days just like as a State Government Department and a court.
Jurisdiction of National Council
Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the National Commission shall have jurisdiction—
a) – to entertain
- i) complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation, if any, claimed exceeds rupees one crore; and
- ii) appeals against the orders of any State Commission
b) – to call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or has been decided by any State Commission where it appears to the National Commission that such State Commission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested, or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.
Who is consumer? Explain the objectives of the Consumer Protection act 1986
The intention and object of the Consumer Protection Act, is to provide a speedy remedy and for better protection of interests of consumer.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has defined the term CONSUMER. Only the complainant who falls under the definition of Consumer can be benefited through Consumer Protection Act. Hence the definition of CONSUMER is of much importance to determine the applicability of the Act.
CONSUMER AS DEFINED U/SEC 2(1)(d) OF THE ACT:
“Consumer” means any person who-
Buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly promised, under any system of deferred payment, and includes any user of such goods when such use is made with the approval of such person, but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for any commercial purpose.
Explanation: “commercial purpose” does not include use by a consumer of goods bought and used by him exclusively for the purpose of earning his livelihood, by means of self-employment;
Who can a file a complaint?
- A consumer (As above)
- Any registered voluntary consumer organisation
- The Central Government
- The State Government
When can a complaint be filed?
Under the Act, a complaint can be made in writing in the following circumstances:
- If you have suffered loss or damage as a result of any unfair trade practices adopted by the trader.
- If the services hired/availed of suffer from deficiencies in any respect.
- If you have been charged a price in excess of the price displayed or fixed by or under any law for the time being in force.
- If, the goods hazardous to life and safety, when used.
How can you file?
The complaint is to be filed within two years from the date on which cause of action has arisen
There is no fee for filing a complaint. Even an affidavit does not need stamp papers. A complaint can be sent by post or presented in person by complaint or his authorised agent.
Usually the Forums Require 3-5 copies of complaint.
What information should a complaint contain?
Complaint should contain the following information:
- Name and complete address of complainant
- Name and complete address of the opposite party or parties as the case may be.
- Date of purchase/service obtained.
- Amount paid for consideration.
- Items of goods with quantities/nature of service.
- Whether the complaint relate to unfair trade practice/defective goods’ deficient service/charging excess price.
- Copies of bills/vouchers/receipts and copies of correspondence made, if any.
- The relief sought-Under the Act.
Short note on Appeals
District Forum ————– Within 30 days —— In State Commission
State Commission ——— Within 30 days —— National Commission
National Commission —— Within 30 days —— Supreme Court
There is no fee for filing appeals in the State and National commissions.
Procedure is the same as that complaint except that the application has to be accompanied by the copies of the orders appealed against with reasons for filing appeals.
Short note on Service
Service of any description such as banking, insurance, transport, processing, housing construction, supply of electrical energy, entertainment, board or lodging.
Write a short note on: Deficiency in service.
Restrictive Trade Practice
Section 2(1) (nnn) of CPA [As amended by Amendment Act, 2002] define Restrictive Trade Practice (‘RTP’) as one which tends to bring about manipulation of price or its conditions of delivery or to affect flow of supplies in the market relating to goods or services in such a manner as to impose on the consumers unjustified costs or restrictions and shall include —
(a) delay beyond the period agreed to by a trader in supply of such goods or in providing the services which has led or is likely to lead to rise in the price; (b) any trade practice which requires a consumer to buy, hire or avail of any goods or, as the case may be, services as condition precedent to buying, hiring or availing of other goods or services.
Unfair Trade Practice
Unfair Trade Practice is defined under section 2(1)(r) of CP Act. “Unfair trade practice” means a trade practice which, for the purpose of promoting the sale, use or supply of any goods or for the provision of any service, adopts any unfair method or unfair or deceptive practice