New Delhi: The Central Government will within three months frame rules and set up an authority to implement the newly enacted Consumer Protection Act, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday.
The minister asserted that representation of all sections will be ensured while nominating members of the authority, and said rules will be framed after consultations with states, members of parliament and other stakeholders.
Earlier this month, Parliament approved ‘The Consumer Protection Bill 2019’, replacing the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The law seeks to revamp the process of administration and settlement of consumer disputes, with strict penalties, including jail term for adulteration and misleading ads by firms.
“Before framing rules, we will hold consultation with MPs later this month. We will also call former consumer affairs secretaries. We will make rules very cautiously to ensure that consumers are safe,” he told.
Highlighting the provisions of this law, Paswan termed the establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) under this law as “revolutionary” step, giving much needed teeth to this legislation.
Paswan said the authority can suo-motu take congnisance of any consumer issues, initiate investigation and take class action suits.
The minister said that consumers can file complaints from anywhere and they do not need to hire lawyer to represent their cases. For mediation, he said there will be strict timeline fixed in the rules.
Expressing concern over pending cases in district, state and central consumer forums, which will now be called as ‘commission’, Paswan said he would write to all states to fill vacancies in these foras and also provide good infrastructure as well as salaries.
On misleading advertisements, Paswan said there is provision for jail term and fine for manufacturers. There is no provision for jail for celebrities but they could be banned for endorsing products if it is found to be misleading.
The minister pointed out that manufacturers are still not following the government rule of 2016 to prominently display on products important information – MRP, quantity, date of manufacturing/expiry and complaints redressal mechanism. He asked the department to prepare a detailed report on action taken by it for non-compliance.