Complete information on Consumer Protection Act (India)

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The Consumer Protection Act seeks to provide a speedy and simple redressal to consumer grievances. The Consumer Protection Act has specified consumer rights given above. It provides for the setting up of a three tier quasi-judicial machinery. This machinery has been authorised to provide time bound relief to consumers. Remedies available to an aggrieved consumer are:

1. Removal of defects in goods.

2. Payment of compensation by seller for any loss borne by the consumer.

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3. Return of price by the seller.

4. Replacement of defective goods with new goods of similar description.

The Consumer Protection Act makes provision for the setting up of the following authorities:

District forum

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The State Governments are required | to establish District Forum in each district.

The important features of District Forum are as under:

1. Each District Forum consists of a chairman and two members appointed by the State Government. It has the powers of a civil court for enquiring into any complaint.

2. A District Forum can receive consumer complaints where the value of goods or services and the compensation claimed is less than Rs. Five lakh.

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3. The consumer can file complaint against the manufacturer for the malpractices.

4. On receiving the complaint, the District Forum shall refer the complaint to the opposite party concerned (i.e. seller, manufacturer or the organization who is responsible for malpractice), and send the sample of goods for testing in a laboratory.

5. If the other party is responsible for the default or some unfair trade practices, the District Forum can issue an order to them directing them to either resolve the defect or replace the goods, or return the price, or pay compensation to the consumer for loss or injury etc.

An appeal against the order of the District Forum can be filed to the State Commission within 30 days.

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State commission

It is set up by the State Government and its jurisdiction is restricted to the boundaries of the state concerned. The Consumer Protection Act lays down the working of a State Commission as under:

1. The State Commission shall consist of a President who either has been a Judge of a High Court and two other members. All the three shall be appointed by the State Government.

2. Only those complaints can be filed where the value of goods or services and compensation claims comes in between Rs. 5 lakh and Rs. 20 lakh. The appeal against the order of any District Forum can also be filed before the State Commission.

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3. The State Commission is required to refer the complaint to the opposite party concerned and send the sample of goods for retesting in a laboratory, if necessary.

4. The State Commission after being satisfied that the goods were defective can issue the same order as can l be issued by the District Forum.

Any person who is aggrieved by the order of the State Commission can appeal against such order to the National Commission within 30 days.

National commission

It is set up by the Central Government. The salient features and provisions of the Act pertaining to the National Commission are as under:

1. It shall include a President who is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court and four other members appointed by the Central Government.

2. The identical complaints as can be filed in the District Forum and State Commission can be filed in the National Commission too. Appeal against the order of State Commission can also be filed before the National Commission.

3. The National Commission shall have the same powers as that of a Civil Court in dealing with cases and follow the procedure prescribed by the Central Government.

4. It has the authority to issue orders for safety provisions and paj; compensation for loss or injury cause!

An appeal against the order of the National Commission can be filled to the Supreme Court within 30 days.

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