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Panel Discussion – Consumers Should Be Protected Through Strong Laws

Eminent consumer activists and lawyers urged all political parties to support the passage of the Consumer Protection Bill 2018 in Lok Sabha and include it in their party manifesto.

On the occasion of World Consumer Rights Day 2019, a sensitization meet was organised by Consumer Voice at the New Delhi head office.

Shri Ashim Sanyal, COO, Consumer VOICE introduced the global theme of World Consumer Rights Day- Trusted Smart Products and told that we need to address the risk and concerns that come with allowing smart products into our lives such as: poor data protection, weak security and lack of accessible information. He stressed upon a strong law to safeguard the consumers and gave a brief introduction about consumer protection bill 2018.

Shri DivyaJyoti Jaipuriar, President Consumer Redressal Forum (South-west) Delhi , Shri C.K. Chaturvedi, Senior Advocate and Former President Consumer  Redressal Forum New Delhi , Prof.Sri Ram Khanna, Former Head & Dean Commerce, Delhi School of Economics & Managing Trustee, Consumer VOICE, joined the panel discussion.

The theme of the discussion was "How to strengthen consumer rights through the passage of Consumer Protection Bill 2018 in the next parliament session.”

Following points were discussed:

  • On December 20, 2018, The Consumer Protection Bill, 2018 with some significant amendments was passed in the Lok Sabha. However, the Bill lapsed in the Rajya Sabha awaiting passage when the Parliament was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, 13th February, 2019.
  • Since this Bill had been introduced in the Lok Sabha which had completed its term, the Bill in Rajya Sabha lapsed upon dissolution of Lok Sabha as per parliamentary procedure.
  • There are some gaps in the existing Act like no provision for mediation and out of court settlement inordinate delay, lengthy process of appeal, several adjournments due to unavailability of quorums etc.
  • These are the biggest reasons why several aggrieved consumers refrain themselves from filing consumer complaints. For example, if the disputed amount of the consumer is Rs. 10,000/-and his case goes beyond 6 months, no consumer would want to pursue the case as it will defeat the entire purpose of achieving justice.
  • This Bill introduced various positive changes, which included (i) Setting up of a Central Consumer protection Authority, (ii) Setting up of Mediation Centres in Consumer Courts, (iii) Widening the jurisdiction of Consumer Courts (iv) Unfair Terms of Contract, (v) Jail for false and misleading ads, sale of spurious products and adulterated food, (vi) Product Liability. This Bill is important to be passed as it will curb these issues and more consumers will be open to approach the consumer courts.

 

Along with other guests Ms.Rekha Dayal former senior advocate Supreme Court also shared her views on the importance of the Consumer Protection Bill 2018. Ms.Rinki Sharma-Head Projects, Ekta Purohit- Manager-Projects/Media, and Ankur Saha-Legal Head were also present.

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