The Consumer Protection Act 2019 has now come into force from 20.07.2020 as per the notification published by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution dated 15.07.2020.
The Consumer Protection Act 2019, that has provisions to deal with class actions, product liability, misleading advertisements and liability for celebrity endorsements, while addressing new age developments like e-commerce, direct selling and tele-marketing, has come into force from 20.07.2020.
As per the notification, the following provisions of the Consumer Protection Act 2019 have come into force:
- Section 2 [Except clauses (4), (13), (14), (16), (40)]- [Definitions]
- Sections 3 to 9 (both inclusive)- [Consumer Protection Councils]
- Sections 28 to 73 (both inclusive) [Except sub-clause (iv) of clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 58]- [Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission]
- Sections 74 to 81 (both inclusive)- [Mediation]
- Sections 82 to 87 (both inclusive)- [Product Liability]
- Sections 90 and 91 [Except sections 88,89,92 & 93]- [Offences And Penalties]
- Sections 95, 98, 100- [Miscellaneous]
- Section 101 [Except clauses (f) to (m) and clauses (zg), (zh) and (zi) of sub –section 2 ]- [Miscellaneous]
- Sections 102, 103, 105, 106, 107 [Except sections 94, 96,97,99, 104]- [Miscellaneous]
Rules for the composition of the Consumer Protection Council have been laid down under the said Act, as per which the Council shall not consist more than 36 members.
The main features of the said Act includes renaming the term “District forum” as “District Commission”, increase in the limitation period for filing of appeal to state commission to 45 days from 30 days, while retaining power to condone the delay.
Some other features of the Act are as follows:
- The opposite party needs to deposit 50% of the amount ordered by District Commission before filing appeal before State Commission. Earlier, the ceiling was of maximum of Rs. 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand) which has been removed.
- State Commission shall have a minimum of one president and four members.
- The original pecuniary jurisdiction of District Commission will be up to Rs. 1,00,00,000/- (Rupees One Crore), State Commission from Rs. 1,00,00,000/- (Rupees One Crore), to Rs. 10,00,00,000 (Rupees Ten Crore Only) and the NCDRC above Rs. 10,00,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Crore Only/).
- Complainant can institute the complaint within the territorial jurisdiction of the commission where the complainant resides or personally works for gain besides what was provided earlier.
- Section 49(2) and 59(2) of the said Act gives power to the State Commission and NCDRC respectively to declare any terms of contract, which is unfair to any consumer, to be null and void.
- A second appeal to NCDRC has been provided under section 51(3) if there is a substantial question of law involved in the matter.
- Power of revision can still be exercised by NCDRC under Section 58(1)(b) and by State commission under Section 47(1)(b) of the Act.
- Power of review has been conferred to District Commission, State Commission and NCDRC under Section 40, 50 and 60 of the Act, respectively.
- NCDRC can hear appeals against the order of central authority by virtue of Section 58 of the Act.
- Period of limitation in filing of complaint remains two years with a provision for condonation of delay power under Section 69 of the Act.
- Section 70 provides for administrative control of State Commission over District Commission and that of NCDRC over State Commission. It inter aliaprovides for investigation into any allegations against the president and members of a State Commission / District Commission and submitting inquiry report to the state government concerned along with copy endorsed to the central government for necessary action.
- Section 71 confers power of execution as provided under Order XXI, the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 with such limitation as provided in the section.
- Mediation is given statutory status by way of introduction of Section 74 in the new Act.
- A product liability action may be brought by a complainant against a product manufacturer or a product service provider or a product seller, as the case may be, for any harm caused to him on account of a defective product.
- Chapter III of the Act provides for creation of central authority to regulate matters relating to violation of rights of consumers, unfair trade practices and false or misleading advertisements, which are prejudicial to the interests of public and consumers and to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers as a class.
- The central authority will have an investigation wing headed by a director general for the purpose of conducting inquiry or investigation under this Act as may be directed by the central authority.
- In case of unfair trade practices endorsed by a celebrity, the new act holds the endorser responsible. It says that it is the endorser’s responsibility to take the onus and exercise due diligence to cross-check the authenticity of the claims made in the ad to falsify the liability claims.
Notification:Act into force