Every year 24th December is observed as ‘National Consumers Day’ in India. As part of a week-long observance of National Consumer Day, the Nagaland Voluntary Consumers’ Organisation (NVCO) continues the campaign, ‘Jago Grahak Jago’ which means ‘wake up consumer, be aware’ to create consumer awareness through adverts, audio-visual campaign and consumer education. It is important to know the basic rights of consumers such as; a) The right to be protected from all kinds of hazardous goods and services, b) The right to be fully informed about the performance and quality of all goods and services, c) The right to free choice of goods and services, d) The right to be heard in all decision, making processes related to consumer interests, e) The right to seek redressal, whenever consumers rights have been infringed, & f) The right to complete consumer education.
NVCO President Adv. Kezhokhoto Savi who is also a recipient of National Award for Consumer Protection said that on 24th December 1986, the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 had received the assent of the President of India and the enactment of this Act is considered as a historic milestone in the consumer movement in the country. However, the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 which replaced the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 came into force from 20th July 2020. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 will empower consumers and help them in protecting their rights through its various notified Rules and provisions like Consumer Protection Councils, Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, Mediation, Product Liability and punishment for manufacturer or sale of products containing adulterated/spurious goods. The Act includes establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to promote and enforce the rights of consumers. The CCPA will be empowered to conduct investigations into violations of consumer rights and institute complaints/prosecution, order recall of unsafe goods and services, order discontinuance of unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements, impose penalties on manufacturers/endorsers/publishers of misleading advertisements.
The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 introduces the concept of product liability and brings within its scope, the product manufacturer, product service providers and product seller, for any claim for compensation. The Act provides for simplifying the consumer dispute adjudication process in the consumer commissions, which include, among others, empowerment of the state and district commissions to review their orders, enabling a consumer to file complaints electronically and file complaints in consumer commissions that have jurisdiction over the place of his residence, video conferencing for hearing and deemed admissibility of complaints of the question of admissibility is not decided within the specified period of 21 days. An Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism of Mediation has been provided in the new Act. This will simplify the adjudication process. A complaint will be referred by a consumer commission for mediation, wherever scope for early settlement exists and parties agree for it. Mediation will be held in the Mediation cells to be established under the aegis of the consumer commissions. There will be no appeal against settlement through mediation. Once again the President of NVCO Kezhokhoto Savi, Advocate appealed the state government to implement the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 at the earliest.
Press & Media Cell, NVCO