The Consumers can now cheer as the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 has recently replaced the three decade old Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 which came into effect on Monday (July 20) has replaced the earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
The new Act as per the Experts say that “it gives more power to the consumers”. It seeks to revamp the process of administration and settlement of consumer disputes, with strict penalties, including jail term for adulteration and misleading ads by firms.
On July 20, 2020 certain provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 came into force as notified by the Central Government. Following the the key features of the relevant provisions:-
Key features of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 which came into effect on July 20, 2020:-
1) Consumers can now institute a complaint from where they reside or work for gain.
2) The original pecuniary jurisdiction of the District Commissions has increased upto ₹1 crore from ₹20 lakh earlier.
3) The Pecuniary jurisdiction of State Commissions has been increased from ₹1 crore to Rs. 10 crore.
4) The National Commission can hear cases above ₹10 crore when compared to above ₹1 crore earlier.
5) While the provisions relating to e-commerce are not yet notified, a section relating to electronic service provider (covering software services, electronic payments) is notified.
6) The opposite party needs to deposit 50% of the amount ordered by the District Commission before filing an appeal before the State Commission. Earlier, the ceiling was a maximum of ₹25,000, which has been removed.
7) The limitation period for filing of appeals to the State Commission has been increased from 30 days to 45 days.
8) The Parties can be allowed to settle the disputes through mediation.
Following are the Sections which came into force:
Above mentioned provisions pertain to the Consumer Protection Councils, Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Mediation, Product Liability, punishment for manufacturing, selling, distributing etc spurious good or products which contain adulterant.
As per the rules, the e-commerce players will have to display the total ‘price’ of goods and services offered for sale along with break-up of other charges. Only a few certain miscellaneous provisions with regards and respect to the powers of the Central and State Government to make the rules and regulations have also been enforced.
On misleading advertisements there is provision for jail term and fine for manufacturers. There is no provision for jail for celebrities but they could be banned for endorsing products if it is found to be misleading.
For the first time there will be an exclusive law dealing with Product Liability. A manufacturer or product service provider or product seller will now be responsible to compensate for an injury or damage caused by the defective product or deficiency in services.
The Act has also defined an “e-commerce” as the buying or selling of goods or services including the digital products over digital or electronic networks. The existing definition of e-commerce has been adopted from India’s FDI Guidelines on e-commerce.
The definition of ‘e-commerce Entity’ as provided under the FDI Guidelines includes inventory and market place models.
There is also a provision for class action law suit for ensuring that rights of consumers are not infringed upon. The authority will have power to impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to 10 lakh rupees and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement.