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  • CHAPTER-III

    OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE OF THE CONSUMER

    PROTECTION ACT, 1986

    3.0.0 INTRODUCTION

    The Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was enacted to provide for better

    protection of the interest of the consumers and for the purpose to make

    provisions for the establishment of Consumer Councils and other authorities in

    the settlement of consumer disputes and for matters connected therewith. It

    seeks, inter-alia, to promote and to protect the rights of consumers such as

    protection against marketing of goods which are hazardous to life and

    property, the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity,

    standard and price of goods to protect the consumer against unfair trade

    practices, the right to be assured, wherever possible, access to variety of goods

    at competitive prices, the right to be heard and to be assured that the interest of

    consumers will receive due consideration at appropriate forums, the right to

    seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of

    consumers and right to consumer education. The object is also to provide

    speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes-quasi judicial machinery is

    sought to be set up at District, State and Central Levels. These quasi-judicial

    bodies are to observe principles of natural justice and have been empowered to

    give relief of specific nature and to award, wherever appropriate,

    compensation to consumers. Penalties for non-compliance of orders given by

    quasi-judicial bodies have also been provided.

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    3.1.0 PREAMBLE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT

    It is not necessary that every act passed by legislature must have the

    preamble. However, when preamble is added to an Act, it is a part of Act

    itself. The preamble of consumer protection Act, 1986 reads a follows:

    An act to provide for better protection of the interest of consumers and for

    that purpose to make provision for the establishment of consumer councils and

    other authorities for the settlement of consumers disputes and for matters

    connected therewith.

    From above, it would be seen that the consumer protection Act, 1986

    seeks to provide for better protection of the interest of consumers and for that

    purpose to make provision for establishment of consumer councils and other

    authorities for the settlement of consumers disputes.

    3.2.0 SHORT TITLE, EXTENT, COMMENCEMENT AND

    APPLICATION

    The title of present Act is the consumer protection Act, 1986. It

    clearly reflects that purpose of the Act is to protect the interest of consumer.

    Chapter I, II and IV of the Act came into force w.e.f. 15th April, 1987

    and chapter III of the Act came into operation with effect from Ist July, 1987

    in the whole India except the state of Jammu and Kashmir since separate

    legislation has been inacted for the state of Jammu and Kashmir know as the

    Jammu and Kashmir Consumer Protection Act, 1987.

    Save as otherwise expressly provided by the Central Government by

    notification, the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 as amended

    from time to time has made applicable to all the goods and services.

    The Act seeks to protect the consumers in the following respects:-

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    (1) It seeks, inter-alia, to promote and protect the rights of consumers such as

    The consumer protection

    a) The right to be protected against marketing of goods and services which

    are hazardous to life and property;

    b) The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity,

    standard and price of goods or services, as the case may be, so as to protect

    the consumers against unfair trade practices;

    c) The right to be assured, wherever possible, of access to a variety of goods

    and services at competitive prices;

    d) The right to be heard and to be assured that consumers interests will

    receive due consideration at appropriate forums;

    e) The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade

    practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and

    f) The right to consumer education.

    Chapter-II of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 provides for

    establishment of central consumer protection council and state consumer

    protection council while Chapter III of the Act which is in fact is regarded as

    the soul of the Act, provides for establishment of three tier consumer disputes

    redressal agencies namely (i) the district form, (ii) the state commission, (iii)

    the national consumer disputes redressal commission.

    (2) Section 6 of the Act spells out these objects and charges the Central

    Council with the responsibilities of fulfilling these objects. The section says

    that the objects of the Central Council shall be to promote and protect the

    rights of the consumers which have been listed in Section 6. They are as

    follows:

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    a) Protection Against Hazardous Goods :- The Act says in the first place

    that the consumer has a right to be protected against the marketing of goods

    which are hazardous to life and property.

    b) Right to Consumer Information :- The consumer has been given the right

    to informed by the producer about the quality, quantity, potency, purity,

    standard and prices of goods he buys.

    c) Right of Access to Variety of Goods and at Competitive Prices :- The

    central council as constituted under the Act has been charged with the

    responsibility of bringing about the organization of markets and market

    practices in such a way that all dealers are supplied with a variety of goods for

    the benefit of the consumer and that the goods with a variety are being offered

    at competitive prices.

    d) Right to Due Attention at Appropriate Forums :- That Central

    Consumer Protection Council has been charged with the responsibility of

    assuring consumers that they would be heard as of right by the appropriate

    forums and the consumer will receive due attention and consideration from

    such Forums.

    e) Right Against Unscrupulous Exploitation, Restrictive and Unfair Trade

    Practices :- The consumer has been given the right to seek redress against

    restrictive or unfair trade practices1 or unscrupulous exploitation.

    f) Right to Consumer Education :- This has been made one of the missions

    of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and the Central Consumer Protection

    Council has been charged with the responsibility to provide to the people

    proper education in terms of their remedies under the Act. Once the people are

    1 National Consumer Protection Samiti v. Chief Electrical Supervisor, 1991 CPR 191 Guj.

  • 72

    rendered conscious of their power, they may, perhaps, feel energized to

    struggle against exploitation by manufacturers and traders. Controlling hands

    and tools of the govt. are easily corruptible. They also suffer from slow

    motion. They often fail in their mission. But consciousness of the people as a

    whole, for every person is a consumer one way or the other, when aroused by

    proper consumer education, is likely to be above petty temptations and

    therefore more effective in its mission.

    (3) To provide speedy and simple redressal to consumer disputes, a quasi

    judicial machinery is sought to be set up at district, state and central level.

    3.3.0 WHO CAN MAKE A COMPLAINT?

    To initiate an action under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986,

    (hereinafter referred to as the Act) what is required is a complaint from the

    complainant. The term complaint has been defined in section 2(1)(d) of the

    Act. According to clause (b) of section 2(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, a

    complaint can be made by any of the following:

    (i) a consumer or

    (ii) any voluntary consumer association registered under the Companies Act,

    1956 (1 of 1956), or under any other law for the time being in force; or

    (iii) the Central Government or any State Government, who or which makes a

    complaint; or

    (iv) one or more consumers, where there are numerous consumers having the

    same interest;

    (v) In case of death of a consumer, his legal heir or representative.

    3.3.1 CONSUMER

    According to Section 2(1)(d) of the Act consumer means any person

    who:

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    (i) buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or

    partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment

    and includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such

    goods for consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised

    or under any system of deferred payment when such use is made with the

    approval of such person but does not include a person who obtains such

    goods for resale or for any commercial purpose; or

    (ii) hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid or

    promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of

    deferred payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than

    the person who hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or

    promised, or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of

    deferred payment, when such services are availed of with the approval of

    the first mentioned