Consumer Protection Act, 2019 to empower consumers and help them in protecting their rights, says Raosaheb Patil Danve

Raosaheb Danve Patil
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Kolkata, 26 July 2020: Consumer Protection Act 2019 would be a vital tool in protecting consumer rights, as it provides for simplifying the consumer dispute adjudication process, Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution, Raosaheb Patil Danve, said this while inaugurating a knowledge session cum Webinar organised by Press Information Bureau, Kolkata today.

Danve said that with the passage of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 in the Indian Parliament and a notification by the central government, the Act has come into force from July 2020. Now it is the collective responsibility of the Centre and the State to ensure that the Act is enforced in an appropriate manner, he said. Danve urged the West Bengal State Government and its Chief minister to facilitate the implementation of the Act in West Bengal.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Secretary (Consumer Protection Unit and Internal Trade), Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, G.C. Rout said that advantages are multi-dimensional for the stakeholders in the value chain with emphasis on Consumers. He said that the Consumer would have immensely benefitted by the latest Consumer Protection Act. Delving into the details of the topic, he said, there are various provision in the Act such as Product Liability, Mediation, Simplified Dispute Resolution Process, Rules on e-commerce and direct selling with penalty for adulteration of products/spurious goods, which would empower customer. The Act has the additional advantage of providing protection to buyers not only from traditional sellers but also from the new e-commerce retailers/platforms, he said.

With optimism, Taranjit Singh, MD JIS Group, said that the Act would be a Win-Win scenario for the industry sector too, in addition to the advantages for Consumers. He said that the Act would encourage industry manufacturers and service providers, among others to upgrade their Quality standards and better product/services, eventually adding to their competence in global market arena. He said that along with various other Central Government initiatives such as Make in India, Start Up India, Ease of Doing Business, this Act would help industry to optimise their resources and capability to produce Products and provide Services of global standard and quality specifications.

Providing a judicial perspective, with emphasis on the added provisions of Product Liability in Consumer Protection Act,2019, Sanyuk Banerjee, Advocate, District Judges Court, Purbo Bardhamaan, mentioned that every e-commerce entity is required to provide information relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty and guarantee, delivery and shipment, modes of payment, grievance redressal mechanism among others. He further said that it should also include country of origin which are necessary for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase stage on its platform. He said that these provisions are pertinent to the E-Commerce issues of new age consumers, which would enable them to make a more informed decision while buying products/services.

Adding another dimension to the discussion, Dr. BT Kaul, former Chairperson, Delhi Judicial Academy (High Court of Delhi) and Former Prof. In-Charge Law Centre-II, Faculty of Law, New Delhi, said that the Consumer Protection Act,2019 is an important tool for Timely and Speedy justice to aggrieved Consumers. He further said that the Act has to be seen from the perspective of an objective to simplify the entire process of redressal of consumer grievances and enabling Justice at door of the Consumers. He said that the Consumers would have more options and information while selecting products and service and for redressal of complaints with the provision of Product Liability in the Consumer Protection Act,2019 which would deter manufacturers and service providers from delivering defective products or deficient services.

Dr. Ajay Sonawane, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, said that ease of approaching Consumer Commissions is an important aspect of the Consumer Protection Act,2019, as consumers has provision of e-filing and entering complaints from place of work or where they are staying. The facility of Video conferring for hearing is a welcome initiative with the advancement of technology, he said. He also mentioned about the empowerment of Consumer Commissions and provisions of State Commission and District Commission which can review its orders.

Talking about Central Consumer Protection Authority, Abdur Rahman Mallick, Advocate, Delhi High Court, said the role of Mediation and simplification of the adjudication process are some of other vital aspects of the Consumer Protection Act,2019. Central Consumer Protection Council Rules are provided for constitution of the Central Consumer Protection Council, an advisory body on consumer issues, helmed by the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution with the Minister of State as Vice Chairperson and 34 other members from different fields. The Council, which has a three-year tenure, would have Minister-in-charge of consumer affairs from two States from each region- North, South, East, West, and NER, he mentioned.

The entire webinar was planned and coordinated by Samrat Bandyopadhyay, Deputy Director (M & C), PIB, Kolkata. Along with journalists and officials of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Rabindra Nath Mishra, DG(East), PIB Kolkata and Arimardan Singh, Additional Director General, PIB Ranchi were also present on the occasion.