Whenever there are some issues, flaws, deficiency, or something wrong where should one go or complain or is it ever possible to raise voice against this? For all such type of questions or queries The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was implemented in 1986. The purpose for the act was to give easy and fast compensation to consumer grievances and was intended to provide justice which is “less formal, and involves less paperwork, less delay and less expense”.[1]

National consumer day is on 24th December. This day is celebrated to bring awareness to consumer’s rights and responsibilities. The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was made for the betterment of the interest of the consumers and main purpose being was an establishment of consumer councils with other authorities to settle the dispute between parties and matters related to so. This act is based on doctrine of Caveat Emptor which means that it is the responsibility of the buyer to identify the defects in the good.[2] 

The concept of Consumer Protection was first introduced by the 35th president of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, on 15th March 1962. In his speech he spoke about the four basic rights and how it can protect consumer’s interest. The four basic rights of the consumer being right to safety, right to be informed right to be heard, and right to choose. His speech created the awareness on Consumer Protection and thereafter 15th March is celebrated as World’s Consumer Rights Day.

Consumer Protection has its deep roots in the rich soil of Indian civilization, which dates to 3200 B.C. Ancient India witnessed the power of the Vedas, as it was followed by majority. Code of Chanakya, Manu Smriti, Narada Smriti are the one who contained provision which sought to safeguard the interest of the consumer, with the aim of their safety. With these the punishment was also provided when someone went against it. Manu Smriti was the most followed one. It was focused on the ethical trade practices, punishing those who were unfair to the consumers, code of conduct to the adulteration, mixing of commodity with another which resulted in impurity, laws about market price or sales price etc. at an early stage we had an efficient means of Consumer Protection.[3]

“There is sufficiency in the world for a man’s need – but not for his greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi

World Economy has declared that by 2030 with the GDP growth rate of 7.6%, India will be in top three for Consumer Market.[4]This act was created for the betterment protection of the interest of consumer.

The objective of this Act is to provide for the establishment of the Commission:

  • To prevent practices harming competition.
  • To promote and sustain competition in markets.
  • Prohibition against abuse of dominant position.

Any many more.[5]

Consumer Protection Act, 1986 has recognised six rights for the consumer that are:

Right to Safety


A, a producer, and seller decide to make a sweet which must be consumed within 3 hrs of making. Without mentioning this safety measure or this 3hr condition if he sells then he is liable under violation of right to safety of Consumer Protection Act, 1986 so under right of safety he is bound to mention this.

Case law

  • In the case of Grant v. Australian knitting Mills[6], another leading case where liability was attached to the manufacturers and the weavers as we can see in the fact in June 1931, Dr Grant purchases few two pairs of woollen underwear and two singlets from John Martin & Co. Nothing was mentioned about washing and wearing the same. Dr Grant suffered a skin irritation within first few hours of wearing them yet continued to wear them for rest of the week. And did the same with another pair of underwear. Later the skin irritation went worse and developed into a case of dermatitis. Dr Grant blamed the underwear and sued John Martin & Co. for breach of contract and sued the manufacturer, Australian Knitting Mills alleging that they had been negligent in failing to take reasonable care in the preparation of the garments. The garments in question were alleged to contain an excess of sulphur compounds, variously described as sulphur dioxide and sulphites. Here both the seller and the manufacturer were held liable.[7]

Right to Information


K, a vender sells a book whose pages are thin and if there is a water spillage on the book all the ink gets spread. He sells this book to S, a customer without mentioning any of this disadvantage of the book. And when S uses the book and realises the actual bad quality of book and decides to return them. Here the vender, K must take it back because he did not disclose the quality and under Consumer Protection Act, 1986 he must do it, or strict action will be taken against him.

Right to Choose


C, a customer wants to buy a Victorian sofa set for her house, she likes a sofa set from abc shop but the price is Rs.40,000 which is double her budget and does not like its colour and she is not bound to buy from abc shop  because C can find similar sofa sets in other shop in her budget with her favourable colour .Her right to choose under Consumer Protection Act, 1986 allow her to different variety of goods and services at competitive prices.

Right to be Heard


L, a consumer buys a Coke bottle from a shop, while opening finds out that instead of Coke there is Sprite in the bottle. Here L can place his complain to the Coke’s customer care and they must listen to her and provide with appropriate remedy.

Right to Redressal


F, buys a shampoo of pqr brand. She has bought this shampoo multiple times before from different venders, this time she bought from abc shop. While bathing she realised that the water, oil and all the other ingredients had separated. Despite shaking the shampoo bottle, it was too lumpy. She complained about the same to abc shop where vender asked to complain to pqr company. After addressing the complain it was realised that the shampoo had expired much before the date stated on the bottle. Hence here F is bound for redressal in the form of compensation or damages.

Right to Consumer Education

“Jago grahak Jago” is the common camps and advertisement carried out by the government of India. It is for the purpose that every person has the knowledge about all the important laws and policies relating to the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

The Consumer Protection Act has proved to be a helping hand to the consumers and protected them from being exploited in the hands of huge companies and famous traders. The traders and the firms are still working on how to make huge profits and one of the ways is by exploiting the consumer.  Corresponding to this the Legislature and the Judiciary are making amendments in the act from time to time but the consumer himself needs to be careful and aware of the people in the market.

We have all the rules in place, but the question is how many of us uses the same? Many a times when we get defective products or the wrong products how many of us complain and with their lethargic behaviour do, we keep track or let it go. Majority of the people just let it go or are not aware about their rights or if they take step many of them just do not reach till the end because of so many formalities. Despite government setting aside the rules consumer do not use it and some who uses it tend to get stuck in red tape. We have rules but less implementation, it is a place where India needs to work the most. The rule of Caveat has taken a huge shift from Caveat Emptor to Caveat Venditor which almost makes the customer from common man to king where majority of the things are served to him and an act made upon that to one can beware of all the fraud happening or one’s violation of right is being taken place.

It is important for the citizens to use these acts if there is violation of their rights. Because every complains matter whether small or big, more important and should do it as soon as possible. The seller is serving not for free, we as consumers are paying good amount of hard earn money and if something is defective, we should complain about it.

[1]Historical Evolution of Consumer Protection and Law in India, Journal of Texas Consumer Law Pg. no.134





[6] HCA 35, (1933) 50 CLR 387


Aishwarya Says:

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