Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Bill will lapse if not passed by Wed­nes­day

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Di­[email protected]­

Con­sumer af­fairs min­istry sources said that they had made a re­quest to list the bill in Ra­jya Sabha in the next three days

New Delhi: The Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Bill with pro­vi­sions to em­power con­sumers, stream­line the griev­ance re­dres­sal sys­tem and stricter penal­ties will lapse if it’s not passed in the bud­get ses­sion which ends on Wed­nes­day.

Con­sumer af­fairs min­istry sources said they had made a re­quest to list the bill in Ra­jya Sabha in the next three days. The min­istry has pre­pared the reg­u­la­tions that the gov­ern­ment needs to no­tify af­ter the bill be­comes a law. “To our un­der­stand­ing, no political party will op­pose the pas­sage of the bill and it has al­ready been ap­proved by Lok Sabha. If it lapses, we will have to start from scratch af­ter for­ma­tion of next gov­ern­ment,” an of­fi­cial said.

While ad­dress­ing global lead­ers at an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence on con­sumer rights in Oc­to­ber 2017, PM Naren­dra Modi had said Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Bill was on the top pri­or­ity of the gov­ern­ment to em­power con­sumers and put a check on mal­prac­tices in­clud­ing adul­ter­ation.

The prepa­ra­tion to amend the ex­ist­ing law had started dur­ing the fag end of UPA-2. But ac­tual work started af­ter Modi gov­ern­ment took charge and greater fo­cus was put on to curb mis­lead­ing ad­ver­tise­ments and en­dorse­ments by celebri­ties, which of­ten in­flu­ence peo­ple while buy­ing a prod­uct or avail­ing a ser­vice.

The bill also pro­vides for set­ting up of a cen­tral author­ity which con­sumers could reach out to for pro­tec­tion. This was in­cor­po­rated as con­sumers mostly don’t lodge com­plaints as there is no sin­gle author­ity to take up their case. A small frac­tion ap­proach con­sumer courts where the process takes long to get jus­tice.

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