Government introduces Consumer Protection Bill in Lok Sabha

Highlights: 

  • The government has introduced the Consumer Protection Bill, 2018, which has provision for fine and imprisonment for adulteration of products, and the establishment of the Central Consumer Protection Authority.
  • The Bill will replace the existing 31-year old Consumer Protection Act.
  • It envisages life imprisonment for sellers and manufacturers of adulterated products if those result in the death of any consumer.
  • If such act - results in the death of a consumer manufactures for sale or stores or sells or distributes or imports any product containing an adulterant shall be punished.
  • It punisment with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life and with fine which shall not be less than ten lakh rupees.
  • However, for lesser injury, the punishment is lower, ranging from six months to seven years.
  • The Bill also confers judicial power to district, state and national commissions to punish a person or company for non-compliance of order with power to pronounce imprisonment between one month and three years, as well as a fine between Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,00,000.
  • The Central Consumer Protection Authority will be an executive agency to provide relief to consumers against unfair trade practices and misleading advertisements.
  • The authority can penalise some one for non-compliance of its direction with six months jail or Rs 25 lakh fine, or both.
  • Any manufacturer or service provider will get two years jail and Rs 10 lakh fine for false or misleading advertisements and for every subsequent offence.
  • And also, the punishment will increase up to five years imprisonment and up to Rs 50 lakh fine.
  • The Bill also provides for simplification of consumer disputes adjudication process for faster disposal of grievances through filing of complaints by a consumer from his place of residence, e-filing and video conferencing for hearing.
  • The Bill has a provision that allows the Centre to regulate e-commerce and direct selling.