The Centre has decided to amend the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), 1986 to strengthen the three-tier grievance redressal system stipulated under it, and include e-commerce, product liability, misleading advertisements within its purview, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said.
The amendment will also set up a consumer protection ‘authority’ that will take care of ‘groups or classes’ for which no remedial measures could be taken under the present form of the Act as it focuses on cases pertaining to individuals only, Paswan told reporters here.
“We want to move the amendment during the current parliamentary session. The proposed changes have been circulated to all the ministries and departments and will be then taken to the Union Cabinet,” he said.
“There have been several complaints pertaining to e-commerce and online shopping, so we are bringing it under CPA. Likewise, builders renege on their promises and do not stick to the deadline. So we are bringing the realty sector also within its purview,” Paswan added.
The Union Minister said a consumer protection authority will come up to provide relief to groups or class of people.
“This ‘authority’ will have the power to take action, impose fine and even close down the errant factory or service,” the minister added.
Pawan added that the strength of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) will be increased and five more members, including a woman and one each from SC, ST, OBC and minority communities, will be added to it. At present is has 10 members and a Chairman.
Similarly, the strength of the state consumer commissions and district fora will also be strengthened.
The amendment is set to introduce product liability charges even in cases like train or flight delays. Instead of just refunding the amount paid, the service providers will be liable to punitive action, fine and compensation.
Paswan hinted that the amendment will also do away with the ‘compromise’ rule under the CPA if the matter is related to ‘danger to life’ or ‘public safety’.
Talking about misleading advertisements that promise moon to the consumers, he said the changes in the CPA will ensure that such advertisers are punished.