The New Consumer Protection Law
The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015, has passed the legislative deliberations test in the Parliamentary Standing Committee, which has recommended improvements and plugging of gaps to make it more effective. Currently a Cabinet Committee is deliberating on the changes proposed by the Standing Committee and the revised bill will have to be approved before it is introduced in Parliament during the winter session. This article sums up the five ‘highlights’ that are going to make the law much stronger, mature and sophisticated as compared to the Bill passed in 1986.
Prof. Sri Ram Khanna, Managing Editor, ConsumerVoice
For the record, the original Act of 1986 has been amended twice. The first time was in 1991 after a Central Committee headed by West Bengal Left Front Minister Niren De suggested improvements. It was once again amended in 1996 to bring marginal improvements.
The present amendment is a leap of faith as compared to the incremental changes made in the first two amendments. It was introduced in Parliament on 10 August 2015 by Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan after wide-ranging consultations with civil society including voluntary consumer organisations (VCOs). The same month it was referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament headed by JC Divakar Reddy. After significant deliberations, the Standing Committee heard a number of experts and officials and identified the lacunae that needed removal as well as made some new suggestions in its report submitted to Parliament on 26 April 2016.