Consumer protection Act

The concept of protection of rights of the consumers is not new; rather it is a practice that has been present in the society and various countries in one form or the other historically. The Old Testament mentions a form of consumer protection, and so does the Code of Hammurabi, but only in a mercantile perspective. An early form of movement in defence of consumers was born in the United States, where the bases for the birth and development of monopoly and oligopolistic capitalism had started. The first consumer organisations were born in Denmark in 1947 and Great Britain in 1955 where the Government created the Consumer Council in order to enable consumers to express themselves on issues reserved to producers and traders. But the real normative innovation came with the Single European Act; it modified the Treaty of Rome by solidifying the role of the Economic and Social Committee, to whom were attributed powers to safeguard the consumers. Over the years, some important changes were made to the above-mentioned legislation that paved the way for a wider consumer policy. But despite these additions, it still lacked a solid foundation that allowed getting real consumer protection.

Post-Independence development in Consumer protection laws:

Post-independence, India has been more aware of the fact that the interest of the consumer is a priority in a democracy. No democracy can withstand if its consumers are unsatisfied or if they feel that their utility of the goods and services they are getting is not worth the consideration, or if they suffer injury due to malpractices prevalent in the society.

In the year 1954, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act was enacted with an aim to curb the evils of adulteration of various harmful and toxic elements in the commodities. Though the Indian Penal Code already classified the act of “Adulteration of Drugs”, “Sale of Adulterated Drugs”, and “Sale of Drug as a Different Drug or Prescription” as offences and provided punishment for them, the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act helped to strengthen the restrictions further. The following legislations were further enacted and are currently applicable which govern consumer laws in India:

  • The Drugs (Control) Act, 1950;
  • The Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954.
  • The Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
  • The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969.
  • The Bureau of Indian Standard Act, 1986.
  • The Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Importance of Consumer Protection:

  • To shape Consumers- Indian customers are not well-organised, and vendors exploit them easily.
  • Impart Market Information- Most of the consumer is clueless, and have no information about the product they are buying and this might cause them losses.
  • Physical Safety- Some products are adulterated and can hamper consumer health. So, they need to be protected.
  • Avert Monopoly- Irrespective of different restriction many organisation follows monopoly practice and consumers gets influenced and should be protected.
  • Malpractices- Company pursues biased trade practices, and unlawful trade practices and this protection plays a crucial role.
  • Misleading advertisement- Many enterprises, intentionally trick consumers through incorrect or deceptive advertisements. This act will shield consumers from getting exploited.
  • Education Consumers about their Basic Rights- Most consumers ignore or do not know about their rights. The Consumer Protect Act educates them and secures their rights and interests.

Aishwarya Says:

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