The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 is the act of the Parliament of India. This Act replaces the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. This Act helps to provide protection of consumer’s interests, to establish authorities for effective, timely and proper administration and settlement of consumer disputes and other consumer related matters.
This Act was set to make consumer a king in a free market economy. The approach of “caveat amptor’ meaning ‘let the buyer beware’ has now been changed to “caveat venditor” meaning ‘let the seller beware.’ This Act is clearly focused on giving consumer more power by taking transparency to an another level.
Due to growing competition and attempt to increase their sales and market share may be tempted to engage in unscrupulous, exploitative and unfair trade practices like defective and unsafe products, adulteration, false and misleading advertisements, the consumer protection act provides for setting up consumer dispute redressal commissions (CDRC).
Three Tier System of Redressal under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019
- The Consumer Protection Act provides for a three-tier system of quasi judicial agencies for redressing consumer grievances.
- They follow a hierarchy of district commission, state commission and national commission starting from the bottom to the top.
- These commission are setup with the purpose to promote, protect and enforce the rights of the consumer.
- These agencies act like consumer courts at the district, state and central levels for better protection of the interest of consumers and to provide simple, speedy and proper redressal of consumer disputes.
- There is at least one District Commission in every district and this has truly brought justice to the doorstep of every consumer.
- Then, there is one State Commission in each state and a national commission located in Delhi, named as National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
- Provisions have been made in the Act for the circuit benches of the State Commission and National Commission to sit at other places also.
- Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions work to provide better and all round protection of consumers, to create framework for consumers to seek proper redressal, to provide speedy and timely redressal of grievances, to introduce effective and time bound administration and settlement of consumer disputes, and to provide rights to consumers, etc.
It is very important and necessary to give each commission such amount of powers which will ensure their autonomy and smooth functioning.
|Basis||District Commission||State Commission||National Commission|
|Meaning||A consumer dispute redressal forum at the district level establish by State Government is known as District Commission.||A consumer dispute redressal forum at the State level established by the State Government is known as State Commission.||A consumer dispute redressal forum at the National level establish by the Central Government by notification is known as National Commission.|
|Territorial Jurisdiction||Territorial Jurisdiction of District Commission is entire district in which it is established.||It can entertain original cases as well as appeals against the order of District Commission which are within the geographical limits of the state.||It can entertain original cases as well as appeals against the order of State Commission and the Central Authority which are within the geographical limits of the state.|
|Composition||Not less than two and not more than such member of members as may be prescribed, in consultation with the Central Government.||Not less than four and not more than such member of members as may be prescribed, in consultation with the Central Government.||Not less than four and not more than such number of members as may be prescribed, in consultation with the Central Government.|
|Minimum age of members||Members should be not less than 35 years of age.||Members should be not less than 35 years of age.||Members should be not less than 35 years of age.|
|Tenure||Five years or 65 years of age, whichever is earlier or till the completion of his term for which he has been appointed.||Five years or 67 years of age, whichever is earlier or till the completion of his term for which he has been appointed.||Fiver years or 70 years of age, whichever is earlier or till the completion of his term for which he has been appointed.|
|Who can be the preceding officer?||A person who is sitting or retired or qualified to be District Judge, appointed by the Central Government.||A person who is sitting or retired or Judge of High Court shall, be appointed by the Central Government as the president of State Commission.||A person who is or has been a Judge of Supreme Court, shall be appointed by the Central Government by notification is known as the president of National Commission.|
|Monetary Jurisdiction||Complaints can be filed if value of goods/services is upto Rs.1 crore.||Complaints can be filed if value of goods/services is more than Rs.1 crore & less than Rs. 10 crore.||Complaints can be filed if value of goods/services is more than Rs. 10 crore.|
|Appeal Against the order||Aggrieved party if unsatisfied with the Jurisdiction of District Forum can file an appeal against the judgement in State Commission within 45 days by depositing 50% of that amount in the manner as may be prescribed.||Aggrieved party if unsatisfied with the Jurisdiction of State Commission can file an appeal against the judgement in National Commission within 30 days by depositing 50% of that amount in the manner as may be prescribed.||Aggrieved party if unsatisfied with the Jurisdiction of National Commission can file an appeal against the judgement in Supreme Court within 30 days by depositing 50% of that amount in the manner as may be prescribed.|
Mediation under Consumer Protection Act, 2019
Consumer Protection Act, 2019 pioneered the concept of mediation as a redressal mechanism for disposal of consumer disputes. The parties before the consumer courts now have an option of opting for mediation as a redressal mechanism for their disputes, at anytime after the admission of company.
On the first hearing of the complaint after its admission, or at any later stage, if it appears to the appropriate commission that there exists elements of a settlement which may be acceptable to the parties, it may direct the parties to give in writing, within five days, consent to have their dispute settle by mediation.
Where the parties agree for settlement by mediation and give their consent in writing, the appropriate commission shall, within the five days of receipt of such consent, refer the matter for mediation.
The mediator shall attempt to facilitate voluntary resolution of disputes and assist them, emphasizing that it is the responsibility of the parties of take decision which affect them. The time of limit of completion of mediation is 30 days.
As a Consumer, it is imperative for you to understand the rights and the reliefs awarded for violations of those rights. The agencies created for consumer redressal are the platforms to obtain justice for aggrieved consumers. Countries all over the world have adopted various laws in order to protect rights and the interest of consumers.
Consumer Protection is the key issue of our times. In order to enforce the laws that have been draffted to protect consumers, the government establishes agencies for consumer dispute redressal. The aggrieved customer who has faced fraud or deceit, or other similar problems from a company or brand can approach these consumer courts and demand compensation. In order for consumer dispute redressal agencies to dispense justice, they need to be inclusive, accessible and the procedure should be affordable.
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