New Delhi: The long pending Consumer Protection Bill, 2018, seeking to set up an authority to safeguard consumer rights in view of current challenges posed by e-commerce, direct selling, tele-marketing and misleading ads, among others, was passed in the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 seeks to replace the 31-year-old law.
The Bill has strong provisions to check adulteration and misleading ads and also provides for fine up to Rs 50 lakh and jail up to 5 years for manufacturers and service providers for false and misleading ads. Against adulteration, the Bill has provisions for fine up to Rs 10 lakh and life term imprisonment.
The Bill aims to set up an executive agency 'Central Consumer Protection Authority' (CCPA) to make intervention when necessary to prevent consumer detriment arising from unfair trade practice and to initiate class action including enforcing recall, refund and return of products.
Besides setting up an authority, the Bill has provisions for product liability action on account of harm caused to consumers due to a defective product and deficiency in services. It also has provisions for 'mediation' as an alternative dispute redressal mechanism.
The Bill has several provisions aimed at simplifying the consumer dispute adjudication process of the consumer dispute redressal agencies, besides enabling consumers to file complaints electronically.
In August 2015, the Centre had introduced the Consumer Protection Bill in the Lok Sabha to repeal the 30-year-old Consumer Protection Act, 1986. A Parliamentary Standing Committee had also submitted its recommendations in April 2016. The government has brought this bill as there were many amendments to the bill introduced in 2015.
With PTI Inputs