HIGHLIGHTS OF THE LATEST CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 2019
The Government of India has recently passed the Consumer Protection Bill 2019, which received the Presidential assent on 9thAugust, 2019. This Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (the New Act) is said to have replaced the previous Consumer Protection Act 1986. The New Act aims at strengthening consumer rights and protecting consumer interests, and further lays down simpler procedures to give consumers a speedy redressal. The Act also brings under its jurisdiction, the e- commerce and the tele-shopping industry.The following are few significant highlights of the New Act: –Establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA)The New Act seeks to establish a Central Authority i.e. the Central Consumer Protection Authority (the new Authority). It looks into matters which relates to violation of consumer rights, false and misleading advertisements, unfair trade practices. The new Authority also can “promote”, “protect” and “enforce” the rights a class of consumers. The said Authority would also have a dedicated Investigation wing which will be responsible for conducting various inquiries/ investigations and it will also have the power of search and seizure.Action against Mis -Leading Advertisements and liability of EndorsersThe New Act has provisions which deals with mis- leading advertisements that falsely describe any product or service or give guarantee which can mis- lead the consumers. This act of the advertisers can be penalised with penalty up to Rupees 10 Lakhs and imprisonment for a term which may extend up to 2 years.Product LiabilityThe New Act has provisions which deals with “product liability”. A product liability action may be brought by a complainant against a product manufacturer or a service provider, as the case maybe for any harm caused to him on account of a defective product.Improved pecuniary jurisdictionThe New Act enhances the pecuniary jurisdictions of the following forums: –District Commission: – from Rupees 20 Lakhs to Rupees 1 CroreState Commission: – from Rupees 1 Crore to Rupees Ten CroreNational Commission: – from Rupees 1 Crore to above 10 CroreHowever, the New Act mandates the Commission to suggest mediation between parties before admitting the complaint.Thus, the New Act is said to have brought new and simpler provisions for protection of consumer interests in the country.