28 March 2014

Consumer Protection Act, 1986

In India, the Consumer Protection Act of 1986 is the law governing consumer protection. Under this law, Separate Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum have been set up throughout India in each and every district in which a consumer [complaint can be filed by both the consumer of goods as well as of the services] can file his complaint on a simple paper with nominal court fees and his complaint will be decided by the Presiding Officer of the District Level. Appeal could be filed to the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions and after that to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). The procedures in these tribunals are relatively less formal and more people friendly and they also take less time to decide upon a consumer dispute when compared to the year’s long time taken by the traditional Indian Judiciary. In recent years, many effective judgements have been passed by some state and National Consumer Forums.
The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 aims to provide better protection of interest of consumers and enacts for the establishment of consumer councils and authorities for settlement of consumer disputes and matters that are connected therewith.

The Act extends to whole of India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Act applies to all goods and services and the central government may by notification expressly exclude applicability of the Act to goods or services by providing for the same in the notification.
A compliant can be filed by a consumer against manufacturer or a dealer of goods or service provider for any defective goods or deficiency of services provided or rendered by them to the consumer.

The act was passed in Lok Sabha on 9th December,1986 and Rajya Sabha on 10th December, 1986 and assented by the President of India on 24th December, 1986 and was published in the Gazette of India on 26th December, 1986. This act was enforced on 15 April 1987.  It has been amended twice. The first amendment was by the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act 1991 and the second by Consumer Protection (Amendment) Act, 1993 meaningful changes were brought in the Act particularly by the later amending Act which came into effect from 18th June 1993. However, in its actual working the Act is still deficient in various aspects. A further amendment regarding them is the immediate need.

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