THE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 2019

NO. 35 OF 2019
[9th August, 2019.]

An Act to provide for protection of the interests of consumers and for the said purpose, to establish authorities for timely and effective administration and settlement of consumers' disputes and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Seventieth Year of the Republic of India as follows:-

 

CHAPTER I PRELIMINARY

Section 1 and 2 of Consumer Protection Act 2019

Section I Short title, extent, commencement and application

Section 2 Definitions

 

CHAPTER II CONSUMER PROTECTION COUNCILS

Section 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 8 and 9 of Consumer Protection Act 2019 Chapter II Consumer Protection Councils

Section 3  Central Consumer Protection Council

Section 4  Procedure for meetings of Central Council

Section 5  Objects of Central Council

Section 6  State Consumer Protection Councils

Section 7  Objects of State Council

Section 8  District Consumer Protection Council

Section 9  Objects of District Council

 

CHAPTER III CENTRAL CONSUMER PROTECTION AUTHORITY

Section 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 of Consumer Protection Act 2019

Section 10  Establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority.

Section 11  Qualifications, method of recruitment, etc., of Chief Commissioner and Commissioners

Section 12  Vacancy, etc., not to invalidate proceedings of Central Authority

Section 13  Appointment of officers, experts, professionals and other employees of Central Authority

Section 14  Procedure of Central Authority

Section 15  Investigation Wing

Section 16  Power of District Collector

Section 17  Complaints to authorities

Section 18  Powers and functions of Central Authority

Section 19  Power of Central Authority to refer matter for investigation or to other Regulator

Section 20  Power of Central Authority to recall goods, etc

Section 21  Power of Central Authority to issue directions and penalties against false or misleading advertisements

Section 22  Search and seizure

Section 23  Designation of any statutory authority or body to function as Central Authority

Section 24  Appeal

Section 25  Grants by Central Government

Section 26  Accounts and audit

Section 27  Furnishing of annual reports, etc

 

CHAPTER IV CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION

Section 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36,  37 of Consumer Protection Act 2019

Section 28  Establishment of District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

Section 29  Qualifications, etc., of President and members of District Commission

Section 30  Salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions of service of President and members of District Commission.

Section 31  Transitional provision

Section 32  Vacancy in office of member of District Commission

Section 33  Officers and other employees of District Commission

Section 34  Jurisdiction of District Commission

Section 35  Manner in which complaint shall be made

Section 36  Proceedings before District Commission

Section 37  Reference to mediation

 

Section 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46,  47 of Consumer Protection Act 2019

Section 38  Procedure on admission of complaint

Section 39  Findings of District Commission

Section 40  Review by District Commission in certain cases

Section 41  Appeal against order of District Commission

Section 42  Establishment of State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

Section 43  Qualifications, etc., of President and members of State Commission

Section 44  Salaries, allowances and other terms and conditions of service of President and members of State Commission

Section 45  Transitional provision

Section 46  Officers and employees of State Commission

Section 47  Jurisdiction of State Commission

 

Section 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57 of Consumer Protection Act 2019

Section 48  Transfer of cases

Section 49  Procedure applicable to State Commission

Section 50  Review by State Commission in certain cases

Section 51  Appeal to National Commission

Section 52  Hearing of appeal

Section 53  Establishment of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

Section 54  Composition of National Commission
Section 55  Qualifications, etc., of President and members of National Commission

Section 56  Transitional provision

Section 57  Other officers and employees of National Commission

 

Section 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67 of Consumer Protection Act 2019

Section 58  Jurisdiction of National Commission

Section 59  Procedure applicable to National Commission

Section 60  Review by National Commission in certain cases

Section 61  Power to set aside ex parte orders.

Section 62  Transfer of cases

Section 63  Vacancy in office of President of National Commission

Section 64  Vacancies or defects in appointment not to invalidate orders

Section 65  Service of notice, etc

Section 66  Experts to assist National Commission or State Commission

Section 67  Appeal against order of National Commission

 

Section 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73 of Consumer Protection Act 2019

Section 68  Finality of orders

Section 69  Limitation period

Section 70  Administrative control

Section 71  Enforcement of orders of District Commission, State Commission and National Commission

Section 72  Penalty for noncompliance of order

Section 73  Appeal against order passed under section 72

 

CHAPTER V MEDIATION

Section 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81 of Consumer Protection Act 2019

Section 74  Establishment of consumer mediation cell

Section 75  Empanelment of mediators

Section 76  Nomination of mediators from panel

Section 77  Duty of mediator to disclose certain facts

Section 78  Replacement of mediator in certain cases

Section 79  Procedure for mediation

Section 80  Settlement through mediation

Section 81  Recording settlement and passing of order

 

 

CHAPTER VI PRODUCT LIABILITY

Section 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87 of Consumer Protection Act 2019

Section 82  Application of Chapter

Section 83  Product liability action

Section 84  Liability of product manufacturer

Section 85  Liability of product service provider

Section 86  Liability of product sellers

Section 87  Exceptions to product liability action

 

 

CHAPTER VII OFFENCES AND PENALTIES

Section 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93 of Consumer Protection Act 2019

Section 88  Penalty for noncompliance of direction of Central Authority

Section 89  Punishment for false or misleading advertisement

Section 90  Punishment for manufacturing for sale or storing, selling or distributing or importing products containing adulterant

Section 91  Punishment for manufacturing for sale or for storing or selling or distributing or importing spurious goods.

Section 92  Cognizance of offence by court

Section 93  Vexatious search

 

 

CHAPTER VIII MISCELLANEOUS

Section 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107 of Consumer Protection Act 2019

Section 94  Measures to prevent unfair trade practices in e-commerce, direct selling, etc.

Section 95  Presidents, members, Chief Commissioner, Commissioner and certain officers to be public servants

Section 96  Compounding of offences

Section 97  Manner of crediting penalty.

Section 98  Protection of action taken in good faith.

Section 99  Power to give directions by Central Government.

Section 100  Act not in derogation of any other law

Section 101  Power of Central Government to make rules

Section 102  Power of State Government to make rules

Section 103  Power of National Commission to make regulations

Section 104  Power of Central Authority to make regulations

Section 105  Rules and regulations to be laid before each House of Parliament

Section 106  Power to remove difficulties

Section 107  Repeal and savings

 

 


Highlights: Consumer Protection Act 2019

Enhancement of Pecuniary Jurisdiction

Pecuniary limits have been fixed under the New Act.

District forum Rs. 10,000,000
State Commission Rs. 10,000,000 To Rs. 100,000,000
National Commission Amount Exceeds Rs. 100,000,000

 

Covers E-Commerce Transactions

The New Act has widened the definition of 'consumer'. The definition now includes any person who buys any goods, whether through offline or online transactions, electronic means, tele-shopping, direct selling or multi-level marketing. The earlier Act did not specifically include e-commerce transactions.


E-Filing of Complaints

Aimed to provide procedural ease and reduce inconvenience and harassment for the consumers, the New Act provides flexibility to the consumer to file complaints with the jurisdictional consumer forum located at the place of residence or work of the consumer. It also contains enabling provisions for consumers to file complaints electronically and for hearing and/or examining parties through video-conferencing.

 

Establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority

The New Act proposes the establishment of a regulatory authority known as the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), with wide powers of enforcement. The CCPA will have an investigation wing, headed by a Director-General, which may conduct inquiry or investigation into consumer law violations. The CCPA has been granted wide powers to take suo-moto actions, recall products, order reimbursement of the price of goods/services, cancel licenses and file class action suits, if a consumer complaint affects more than 1 (one) individual.

 

Product Liability & Penal Consequences

The New Act has introduced the concept of product liability and brings within its scope, the product manufacturer, product service provider and product seller, for any claim for compensation. The defense that e-commerce platforms merely act as 'platforms' or 'aggregators' will not be accepted. The term 'product seller' is defined to include a person who is involved in placing the product for a commercial purpose and as such would include e-commerce platforms as well. There are increased liability risks for manufacturers as compared to product service providers and product sellers, considering that under the New Act, manufacturers will be liable in product liability action even where he proves that he was not negligent or fraudulent in making the express warranty of a product. Certain exceptions have been provided under the New Act from liability claims, such as, that the product seller will not be liable where the product has been misused, altered or modified.


Unfair Trade Practices

The New Act introduces a specific broad definition of Unfair Trade Practices, which also includes sharing of personal information given by the consumer in confidence, unless such disclosure is made in accordance with the provisions of any other law. 

 

 

Penalties for Misleading Advertisement

The CCPA may impose a penalty of up to Rs. 1,000,000 (Rs. 10 Lakhs) on a manufacturer or an endorser, for a false or misleading advertisement. The CCPA may also sentence them to imprisonment for up to 2 (two) years for the same. In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs. 5,000,000 (Rs. 50 Lakhs) and imprisonment of up to 5 (five) years. The CCPA can also prohibit the endorser of a misleading advertisement from endorsing that particular product or service for a period of up to 1 (one) year. For every subsequent offence, the period of prohibition may extend to 3 (three) years.

The New Act fixes liability on endorsers considering that there have been numerous instances in the recent past where consumers have fallen prey to unfair trade practices under the influence of celebrities acting as brand ambassadors. In such cases, it becomes important for the endorser to take the onus and exercise due diligence to verify the veracity of the claims made in the advertisement to refute liability claims.

 

Provision for Alternate Dispute Resolution

The New Act provides for mediation as an Alternate Dispute Resolution mechanism, making the process of dispute adjudication simpler and quicker. This will help with the speedier resolution of disputes and reduce pressure on consumer courts, who already have numerous cases pending before them.

With the New Act all set to become the law, gone are the days, where the 'consumer was asked to beware'. A consumer is now the one who assumes to be treated like a King. Hence, it is important for consumer driven businesses (such as, retail, e-commerce) to be mindful of the changes in the legal landscape and have robust policies dealing with consumer redressal in place. Consumer driven businesses must also strive to take extra precautions against unfair trade practices and unethical business practices.

  
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