Consumer Protection Act, 2019: Important Highlights Of The Act
Last year, the Parliament had passed the Consumer Protection act 2019, which seeks to replace the Consumer Protection Bill, 1986 completely. On 15th July, Central Government has issued a notification by it designates the 20th July, 2020 as the date on which many provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 shall come into force.
The following provision of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 will come into force from 20th July:-
Chapter I: Section 2 [Except clauses (4), (13), (14), (16), (40)]
Chapter II: Sections 3 to 9 (both inclusive);
Chapter IV: Sections 28 to 73 (both inclusive); [Except sub-clause (iv) of clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 58.]
Chapter V. Sections 74 to 81 (both inclusive);
Chapter VI: Sections 82 to 87 (both inclusive);
Chapter VII: Sections 90 and 91; [Except sections 88,89,92 & 93]
Chapter VIII: Sections 95, 98, 100, Section 101 [Except clauses (f) to (m) and clauses (zg), (zh) and (zi) of sub –section 2 ]. -Sections 102, 103, 105, 106, 107 [ Except sections 94, 96,97,99, 104]
Important highlights of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 are as follows:-
1. Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA): The Act seeks the creation of CCPA to address the issue of false and misleading advertisement which are prejudice to the interest of public and which constitutes unfair trade practices. The authority will also be empowered to initiate class action in respect of violation of consumer act.
CCPA may also impose a penalty extending to Rs. 10 Lakh and further penalty up to Rs. 50 lakh for every subsequent contravention. In addition, misleading advertisement shall attract the sentence of imprisonment of up to Rs. 2 years and a further term up to 5 years for every subsequent contravention.
2. The act imposes an obligation on celebrity endorsers on any product/service to verify the veracity of the claims before endorsing the same, failing which the authority may prohibit the endorser for making of any product or same for a period which may extend to one year and further imprisonment of 3 years for every subsequent contravention. Non-compliance of the order shall be punished with imprisonment or fine or both.
3. Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum: The pecuniary jurisdiction of the district and state forum is enhanced up to Rs. 1 crore and 10 crore respectively from the existing limit of Rs. 20 Lakh and 1 crore.
Failure to comply the order of the forum is punished with imprisonment for a term not less than one month extending to 3 years or with fine not less than Rs. 25,000 extending up to Rs. 1 lakh or both.
Also, the bill provides to the consumers to institute the complaint before the forum electronically. Also hearing of the parties can be done through video-conferencing.
4. Product liability: The act explicitly provides for the entertainment by the statutory forum for claims for compensation for any harm caused by a defective product manufactured by a product manufacturer or by service provider or sold by product seller.
The liability of the product manufacturer arises if a product contains deviations from the manufacturers specifications or express warranty or does not contain adequate instructions for usage.
Even the seller of a product may be held liable if he has exercised substantial control over designing, testing, manufacturing, packaging or labelling of product which cause harm.
5. Adulteration: The act makes a expressed provisions for imposition of imprisonment and fine for manufacturing for sale or storing, selling or distributing or imparting products containing injurious substance etc.
6. Mediation: The act mandates the attachment to the forum of a mediation cell and reference thereto of any complaint upon its admission, if it appears to the concerned district, state or national commission that there exist elements of possible settlement between disputing parties in the complaint.