The Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 was passed by the Lok Sabha today.
The main objective of the bill is to protect the interests of consumers by instituting authorities for timely and competent administration, and settlement of consumers’ dispute.
The bill requires the Central government to set up a Central Consumer Protection Authority in order to protect, promote and enforce consumer rights. The Central Consumer authority will be vested with the power to impose penalties on a manufacturer or an endorser to a maximum of 10 lakh rupees and imprisonment of up to two years, in cases of misleading and false advertisements.
The bill also empowers the authority to make interventions whenever necessary to prevent the unfair trade practices, and initiate class-action which may include return, refund and recall of products. Additionally, the Bill also provides for provision to set up Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions at the district, state, and national levels.
Justice Anjushree Juyal, who adjudicates consumer cases in Uttrakhand hailed the passing of the bills as a much-needed reform, and a way for quick redressal of the aggrieved consumers.
The nature of business over the years has changed, and consumers today stand a chance of being exploited easily in the online retail age. The bill hopes to holistically safeguard the rights of the consumers.