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The Lok Sabha has passed the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 which will replace the three decade old Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Highlights of the bill:-
- The bill will be now taken for debate and subsequent passage in Rajya Sabha.
- It aims to refining the three decade old Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
- The bill seeks establish a national level regulator “Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)” to deal with consumer complaints on a protective measure. The present law does not have a regulator
- Also the bill contains key provisions dealing with class actions, product liability misleading advertisements, liability for celebrity endorsements etc
- The bill also addresses new age development like e-Commerce, direct selling, telemarketing etc.
What is new in this bill compare to Consumer Protection Act, 1986?
Executive Agency/ Committee: – Under this bill an executive agency/committee (Central Consumer Protection Authority, (CCPA)) will be formed which will be tasked with protecting consumers from any unfair trade practices including false advertisements. If the Committee wishes, it can file a lawsuit against the concerned company.
The committee can also order a company to recall its defective product or refund the consumers. The liabilities of e-commerce firms also set to increase the protection of consumer and e-commerce firms also forced to disclose the details on how these firms use consumer data.
Who will appoint the executive committee?
There is no provision for selection committee in the bill. The union government will appoint through the notification. The qualifications, tenure and method of appointment and removal of the president and other members of these commissions (district, state and national level) will be also prescribed by central government through notification.
What about fake complaints?
The new bill also proposes to crack down on false complaints by individuals against companies. If a person does not comply with orders of the commissions, he may face imprisonment up to 3 years or a fine not less than Rs 25000 extendable to Rs 1 lakh or both.