Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Essay on Consumer Protection in India in English

Essay on Consumer Protection in India in English

Essay on Consumer Protection in India

Today the markets in India are flooded with innumerable goods. Both Indian and foreign companies are introducing their new products with fancy packing’s. The consumers belonging to middle and lower income groups are even not hesitating to take loans from banks and other financial institutions to purchase these products. In our country, consumer’s choice has increased manifold. The manufacturers are taking advantage of this situation. They very often do not care about the consumer's satisfaction. The result is that the consumers are being deceived by the misleading advertisements in the newspapers, T.V. and radio making big claims as to the high quality durability and after-sale service. The goods purchased by the consumers are often sub-standard and do not match the high claims made by the manufacturers. One can see number of consumers' complaints in the newspapers every day. Most of the manufacturers do not pay any heed to the consumer’s complaints, besides this, the businessmen and dealers not only indulge in unfair trade practices but also carry on anti-social activities such as hoarding, black marketing, over-charging etc. Under these circumstances, there is immense need to protect the consumers from such malpractices.

The Consumer Protection Act was passed in the year 1986 to safeguard the interests of consumer and to enable him to have right to a fair deal. The Act has laid down certain basic rights of the consumer. Now he has the right to be protected against marketing of goods which are hazardous to life property. In order to protect the consumer against the unfair trade practices, he has the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, purity, potency, standard and price of the goods. The act provides for the consumer’s right to be heard and to be assured that his interests will receive due consideration at the appropriate forum. The act also provides for the right to seek redressed against unfair trade practices.

As per act the consumer is a person who purchases any goods or hires or avails of any service for a consideration. The consumer can complain against unfair trade practices, defective goods, over-charging etc. He can also lodge complaint to the appropriate forum if he finds there has been a gross negligence or carelessness in providing proper services to him against payment of required charges.

Under the Act, the defects have also been defined as any fault, imperfection, and shortcoming in quality, quantity, purity or standard which is required to be maintained by or under any law in force. The defects in service include facilities in connection with electric carelessness or negligence is supply, hotel management, banking, insurance, transport etc. All services rendered by the professionals such as doctors, lawyers and architects etc., are included under the ambit of the Act. The Act has made accountable both the manufacturers and providers of service. The Consumer Protection Act provides for the setting up of quasi-judicial bodies at district, State and national level for cheap and quick redressed of consumers grievances. The jurisdiction of courts has been laid down according to the amount of compensation claimed or the cost of goods and service in question. If the cost of goods or service or the compensation claimed is less than Rs. 5 lakh, the complaint can be filed with the District Consumer Forum which has been set up in each district. The suit under this Act should be filed belt before the forum within the local limit of whose jurisdiction the opposite party carries on the business or has a branch office. If the amount is over Rs. 5 lakh but within Rs, 20 lakh., the suit can be filed before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Which has been set up in State capital. If the amount exceeds Rs. 20 lakh the case has to be filed before the National Commission at New Delhi. If the opposite party is not satisfied with the orders of the District Consumer Forum, he can file appeal to the state Commission and thereafter, if necessary, he can file appeal to the National Commission. However, the appeal must be filed within 30 days of the order.

The consumer can simply write down his complaint on a plain paper and attach photo-copies of bill/receipt and other documents and send it to the relevant court. The Consumer forum sends a copy of the complaint to the opposite party who is required to send his reply within 30 days. The date for hearing and settlement of dispute is fixed. Both the parties are required to appear before the court. If the opposite party does not respond to the summons then the case can be decided ex-parte. If the complaint is found genuine the opposite party can be directed to (1) remove the defect or replace the defective goods with new ones or refund the amount paid for the goods; (2) remove the deficiency in service; and pay compensation for loss caused on account of defective goods or services and also pay cost, if the goods are found to be hazardous to life, the court may pass orders for withdrawal of such goods. If the orders of the court are not complied with, it can also award punishment with a minimum imprisonment of one month which may extend to three years. The court can also levy fines between Rs, 2000 to Rs. 10000.

The legislative Act and statutes alone will not help the consumers. Anti-social activities such as black-marketing, hoarding, adulteration etc., can be successfully checked by consumer co-operatives and consumer forums. In our country, consumer awareness cells of the Government have laid down certain guidelines for the innocent consumers. They should ask for a bill for the goods purchased. It can be appended to report the case before the appropriate court. The bill should clearly mention the date, the name of product and price paid. The consumer should look at the expiry date of the products. Such products, whose expiry date is almost near, should not be purchased. While purchasing the consumer durables, the guarantee card should be asked for so that the replacement may be asked for or claim for damage may be made. The consumer should note the ingredients of the food items and only such items should be purchased which are beneficial for health. The consumer awareness cells can educate the public through radio, T.V., Newspapers and Magazines. The audio-visual aids can also be used to educate the consumer residing in the rural areas.

The delay in disposal of complaints filed in the consumer courts has weakened the redressal process and the consumers have to wait for justice for a long time. However, it is praiseworthy that start has been made and it is hoped that in the near future suitable measures will be taken to strengthen these courts. 



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