The issues relating to consumer welfare affects the entire people around us,
since everyone is a consumer in one way or the other John F. Kennedy rightly
stated that “Consumers, by definition, include us all. They are the largest
economic group in the economy, affecting and affected by almost every public and
private economic decision. Two-thirds of all spending in the economy is by
consumers. But they are the only important group in the economies, who are not
effectively organized, whose views are often not heard”.
So, from this statement
one should agree that all of us are consumers and there is no society without
consumers because all human beings, who live in an organized society are either
consumers of goods or services or a consumers of both either directly or
indirectly, more over from the moment a person comes into mothers womb and to
this world he starts consuming. Basically, without consumers there will be no
All the people with their limited resources would like to
fulfill their needs and wants and try to get maximum satisfaction; by this they
create demand for goods and services. In the absence of their demand, producers
would lack a key motivation to produce. Hence, one can say that consumer plays
an important role in the economy of any nation, which allows us to survive and
Here it is also very important to remember valuable words said by our father of
the nation Gandhiji in the light of the importance of consumer as" A customer
(consumer) is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on
us, we are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work - he is the
purpose of it. We are not doing him a favour by serving him. He is doing us a
favour by giving us the opportunity to serve him."
So, from the above it is clear that in one way Consumer is sovereign and customer is the king and at the same time because of various reasons these
concepts are nothing more than myths in the present scenario particularly in the
developing societies like India for various reasons.
But Indian government recognized the importance of consumer welfare and to
ensure consumer welfare it has been working on this issue on various dimensions
like consumer protection with legal measures, education and awareness programmes
etc. Ensuring consumer welfare is the responsibility of the government.
Accepting this, policies have been framed and the Consumer Protection Act, 1986,
A separate Department of Consumer Affairs was also created in
the Central and State Governments to exclusively focus on ensuring the rights
of consumers as enshrined in the Act. This Act has been regarded as the most
progressive, comprehensive and unique piece of legislation. In the last
international conference on consumer protection held in Malaysia in 1997, the
Indian Consumer Protection Act was described as one “which has set in motion a
revolution in the fields of consumer rights, the parallel of which has not been
seen anywhere else in the world.”
The special feature of this Act is to provide speedy and inexpensive redressal
to the grievance of the consumer and provide consumer relief of a specific
nature and award compensation wherever appropriate.The aim of the Act is also
to ensure the rights of the consumer, viz. the right of choice, safety,
information, Redressal, public hearing and consumer education.
To achieve this goals Indian government had proposed and even made several
amendments to Act and at present government of India has proposed to bring about
a new law“Consumer protection Bill, 2015”by which it would like to implement
the principle of Caveat Venditor which means let the seller be beware
and Consumer is the king.
In the early days of industry, companies could afford to ignore consumer wishes
because there was so much demand for their goods and services. As a result, they
were often able to command high prices for products of poor quality. In those
days the principle of Caveat emptorplayed a vital role.
Later, in modern period, industrialization, globalization, liberalization and
privatization have transformed the nations and world economy into a vibrant,
rapidly growing consumer market. As a result, the markets are flooded with
different kinds of goods and services and importance of consumer increasing day
by day. Modern technological developments have made a great impact on the
quality, availability and safety of goods and services but unfortunately the
consumers are still victims of unscrupulous and exploitative trade practices of
the sellers and the producers.
Consumers have been facing huge problems relating to defective goods, deficiency
in services, food adulteration, spurious goods, hoarding, use of deceptive and
fractional weights, late deliveries, variations in the contents of the pack,
misleading advertisements, hidden price components, price discrimination, ATM
and credit card frauds, financial frauds, real estate problems and problems
related to public utilities. These problems arise because unscrupulous sellers
take an unfair advantage of the ignorance and helplessness of the consumers.
More over because of lack of awareness, cohesiveness and lack of effective
organizations to voice their concerns, a consumer has remained a faceless,
In view of the emerging global markets and concerns for good governance coupled
with rising expectations of the people for better services, quality goods,
availability of choice and value for money, there is a national as well as
universal emphasis and consumer movements for protection and promotion of
Consumers rights and interests has been increasing day by day. In fact the
concept of consumer protection is as old as consumer exploitation.
From the history one has to agree that even in ancient period society consumer
protection was sought to be promoted through religious texts, principles of
ethics and morals and judgments of kings. States also provided punishments for
malpractices in business by traders.Best example for this is Roman kingdom
In the history of consumer protection 15th March 1962 is a remarkable day.On
that day, President John F. Kennedy of U.S. called upon the U.S. Congress to
accord its approval to the Consumer Bill of Rights. They are (i) right to
choice; (ii) right to information, (iii) right to safety and (iv) right to be
President Gerald R. Ford added one more right i.e. right to consumer
education. Further other rights such as right to healthy environment and right
to basic needs (Food, Clothing and Shelter) were added. In memory of that day
every year the 15th of March is observed as the World Consumer Rights Day.
Later UN General Assembly on April 9, 1985 adopted a set of general guidelines
regarding protection of consumer and it advised its member countries to adopt
these guidelines through policy changes or law. By this so many countries
started to enacted consumer protection laws.
India being a member country in UN and in furtherance of continuous demand from
various groups for a specific consumer protection legislation Indian parliament
enacted the consumer protection law, 1986 even though there are several Acts
addressing consumer protection related provisions.This Act received assent
of the president on 24thDecember, so in commemoration of that day India has
been celebrating theNational Consumer Rights Day.
From the above one can find that there has been numerous efforts taking by
national and at international level to provide protection to consumers through
legal frame work by providing numerous rights, besides this nations, voluntary
organizations and some individuals making numerous efforts to create consumer
empowerment through public and private campaigns, workshops, advertisements,
through formal and informal education and more importantly through consumer
An aware consumer is an asset to the society, so, an enlightened consumer is
needed, and it is possible through proactive support of the government, business
organizations, Educational Institutions – Schools, Colleges, Universities and
Research Institutions, organizations of Civil Society and more importantly by
individual efforts. So one should first understand that consumer protection is a
socio-economic and legal movement, it will be successful through consumer
education and awareness, which helps the consumer himself as well as his fellow
member in many ways.An aware consumer not only protects himself from
exploitation but induces efficiency, transparency and accountability in the
entire manufacturing and services sector.
Hence, one can say that consumer awareness and education is the main building
block for consumer protection. An enlightened consumer is an empowered consumer.
Realizingthe importance of consumer empowerment, it is the need of the hour to
accord top priority to consumer education and awareness for consumer protection
by people as well as by nations.
Role of consumer education and awareness in protection of rights of consumer
Consumer education and awareness support consumers in their attempts to organize
their everyday lives in a sustainable way and it creates understanding of their
role as actors in the economic system and how and to what extent they can
influence the economy, the environment and the society through their individual
consumer behavior to create a better society for all of us.
Consumer Education is concerned with educating people with the skills,
attitudes, and knowledge required for living in a consumer society.
“Consumer awareness” means creating awareness of a consumer towards his rights
Consumers should have education and awareness regarding their
protection to achieve maximum satisfaction with their limited resources and to
have motivation for saving of scarce resources, to protect themselves as well as
his fellow members from exploitation and to control over consumption of harmful
goods and services, to have knowledge regarding solution methods, if there is
any problem aroused and more importantly to construct healthy society.
Initiatives by Government towards Consumer Protection, Awareness and Education
In a country like India, despite numerous efforts, consumer protection and
consumerism is still in at infancy, given the scenario of economic disparity and
level of education and ignorance, educating consumers, remains a gigantic task.
This calls for concerted efforts from every one. Government, some voluntary
organizations as well as activists have taken initiatives for creating consumer
education and awareness in the country.
Government of India has taken up number of initiatives for providing protection
to consumers through law and creating consumer awareness in the country, some of
1. Consumer Protection Act
India has been a pioneer in consumer advocacy with the Consumer Protection Act,
1986, a path breaking legislation. The existing Act provides the legislative
framework to promote and protect the rights of consumers and three-tier
quasi-judicial consumer disputes redressal machinery at the District, State and
National levels, popularly known as Consumer Courts. The consumer courts
adjudicate complaints relating to defects in goods and deficiencies in services
and are meant to provide simple, inexpensive and speedy redressal of consumers'
grievances. The existing Act also provides for establishment of Consumer
Protection Councils at the Central, State and District levels to function as
Advisory Bodies on consumer advocacy.These bodies assigned some objects to
promote and protect consumer rights; among them consumer educations is also one
of the rights.It is interesting to note that the Act doesnt seek to
protect every consumer within the literal meaning of the term. The protection is
meant for the person who fits in the definition of consumer given by the
Act.Even today to get protection one should depend on judicial
interpretations for proper understanding of the word consumer. So, to avoid
this, the present government of India has proposed to bring about a new law
“Consumer protection Bill, 2015” by which it would like to implement the
principle of Caveat Venditor which means let the seller be beware
and Consumer is the king.
Some of the cardinals of Consumer Protection Act, 1986
·The Consumer Protection Act 1986 was established with the objective to
provide justice which is less formal and involve less paper work, give justice
in minimum delay and with incurring less expense. The consumer protection act
1986 has generated litigants by providing the basic consumer rightsare:
Right to safety, Right to Information, Right to Choose, Right to Heard, Right to
Redress, Right to Basic Needs, Right to Consumer Education,and Right to
·The novelty of the consumer protection act, 1986 is the inclusion of
both goods and services within the jurisdiction. The consumer can bring a suit
for defective commodities as well as for deficiency of services.
·The consumer protection act, 1986 also liberalized right procedural
requirement and introduced simple and easy methods of access to justice to
proceed under consumer protection act 1986, the consumer need only pay a nominal
fee and need not send any notices to the opposite party.
·Another major procedural flexibility is if the consumer prefers he can
·The consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies the national commission, the
state commission and the district forum are working together in a way that is
revolutionizing the present Indian legal system and challenging the traditional
system of delivering justice.
·The provisions of the Act are compensatory in nature.
·The Act also provides for setting up of consumer protection councils
at the central, state and the district levels, which are set up as advisory
bodies to promote and protect the rights of the consumers.
Salient features of the Consumer Protection bill, 2015
With a view to widen the ambit and amplify the scope of the
Consumer Protection Act and to modernise the legislation on consumer protection
to keep pace with the changes in markets, to ensure fair, equitable and
consistent outcomes for consumers, to enable executive intervention in the
nature of class action both to prevent consumer detriment and to provide redress
to consumers, it has been felt necessary to replace the existing Consumer
Protection Act, 1986 by introducing a fresh Bill, namely, the Consumer
Protection Bill, 2015.
Some important features of the bill are
·The Bill aimed to replaces the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The Bill
enforces consumer rights, and provides a mechanism for redressal of complaints
regarding defect in goods and deficiency in services.
·The Bill contains a few new definitions of certain key terms like
Advertisement, Claimant, Harm, Mediation, Product
liability; Unfair ContractUnsafe Goods; etc. All these new terms
that have been added, are of paramount importance in securing better protection
and justice to consumers, apart from reducing any scope for unnecessary
litigation in regard to scope and ambit of these words in the adjudicatory
·The bill widens the scope ofComplaintby providing an option to make
a complaint by electronic means of communication.
·If a consumer suffers an injury from a defect in a good, he may file
a claim ofproduct liabilityagainst the manufacturer. The consumer must
establish seven conditions in order to prove such a claim.
·The Bill classifiessix contract terms as unfair. These cover terms
such as (i) payment of excessive security deposits; (ii) disproportionate
penalty for a breach ; (iii) unilateral termination without cause; (iv) one
which puts the consumer at a disadvantage.
·The Bill empowers consumers to file their complaints in Consumer
Disputes Redressal Commissions that have Jurisdiction over the place of their
residence. Thus, this provision enables a consumer to file his or her complaint
in the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission having territorial Jurisdiction
over his/her place of residence.
·This bill proposed to establish consumer welfare fund
As per the regulations of consumer affairs and distribution ministry, India in
the year 2014 there should be a consumer protection fund to educate and create
among consumers under state authority. This was proposed to establish under 2015
bill which one cannot find in 1986 Act.
·This bill also proposed to enhance penalties
-If a person does not comply with orders of the district, state or national
commissions, he may face imprisonment up to three years, or a fine up to Rs
50,000, or both.
-If a person does not comply with an order issued by the Consumer Protection
Authority, he may face imprisonment of up to six months, or a fine of up to Rs
20 lakh, or both
-The Authority may also impose penalties with regards to the advertisement
and production of food. The penalty for publishing a false advertisement would
be a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh. The penalty for the manufacture, sale, storage,
distribution or import of food containing extraneous matter would be a fine of
up to Rs 1 lakh.
·The bill, 2015 proposed to establish several new authorities like,
-Consumer Dispute Redressal Commissions (Quasi-Judicial body)
The proposed bill proposed for establishment of Consumer Dispute redressal
commissions, which is a quasi judicial body at district, stateand at
nationallevel with functions and powers to adjudicate disputes related to
defective goods and deficient services, based on their value.
-Consumer Protection Authority (Regulator body)
The proposed bill proposed for establishment of Consumer Protection Authority as
regulatory body at Centraland regional levels to perform functions
like Inquire, investigate into complaints, and launch prosecution in a court or
commission; and with powers to issue safety notices and pass orders in relation
to recall of goods, reimbursement of prices, unfair practices, misleading
advertisements, unfair contracts, etc.; it also has power to impose penalties,
-Consumer Protection Council (Advisory body)
The proposed bill proposed for establishment of Consumer Protection Council as
an advisory body at district, stateand at nationallevel with a
view to promote and protect (six) consumer rights.
-Mediation cells (Alternate dispute redressal)
The proposed bill also proposed for establishment of Medication Cells as
alternate dispute redressal. It is in fact an innovative step. It proposed it to
establish at the central, state and district levels as prescribed by respective
governments with a view to Settle disputes by a mediator (except in cases of
grave threats to life, physical or mental injuries).
Like above Indian government has proposed to bring about a new
law, viz; “Consumer protection Bill, 2015”, with an aim toprovide for adequate
protection of the interests of consumers and for prevention of unfair trade
practices and for the said purposes to make provisions for establishment of the
Consumer Protection Councils and other authorities for better administration and
for timely and effective settlement of consumers' disputes and for matters
connected therewith.However the bill is not free from lacunas, many are
criticising this bill on various issues they are as follows.
Some of the lowlights of the bill
·Executive supervision on the commissions could violate the principle
of separation of powers.
·Composition of the District Commission could also violate principles
of separation of powers.
·Appointment of technical members in the national, state and district
commissions is not clear.
·Unreasonable burden of proof on consumer to claim product liability.
·Conditions for establishing a product liability claim for services not
·The bill brings online consumers in the ambit of Consumer Protection
Bill, 2015 but it fails to give a proper definition of e-commerce.
·A serious issue with respect to proposal for a mediation mechanism may
be an option but unfortunately the act of the matter today the ground reality
today is the mediation has become the de facto norm in most consumer protection
forums and this is perhaps at the expense of hurting people, one will actually
like to say that this is an abdication of traditional responsibility.
·Lack of infrastructure facilities in all consumer forums.
2. A separate Department to Consumer Affairs
Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA)is one of the two Departments under the
Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution. It was constituted as
a separate Department in June 1997 as it was considered necessary to have a
separate Department to administer the policies for consumer cooperatives,
monitoring prices, availability of essential commodities, consumer movement in
the country and give a fillip to the nascent consumer movement in the country.
This department is also responsible to educate and to create awareness among
consumers in India for that purpose the department of consumer affairs had taken
numerous initiatives and implementing them in an appreciable manner. Some of
i.Multi Media Publicity Campaign
Multi-media publicity campaign are being undertaken through print and electronic
media by the Department of Consumer Affairs and the role of different
departments on the issues that are directly relevant to such as ISI, Hallmark,Labelling,
MRP, Weights and Measuresetc,. and regarding new emerging areas such as
telecom, real estate, credit cards, financial products, pharmaceuticals,
Insurance, travelservices, medicines etc. are under taken either through joint
campaigns or joint consultations with the concerned Departments.
ii.Creating awareness through Advertisements
a) Advertisements in Print and Electronic media
Print and Electronic media are considered to be the most common, powerful and
preferred medium for mass communication, by recognizing this the department of
consumer affairs in the name of Jago Grahak Jago has been giving
advertisements to create awareness among public regarding consumerism.
b) Advertisements in journals
The Department has entered into a tie-up with Publication Division
under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting for displaying advertisements
in the journals brought out by the division such as Yojana, Krukshetra, Bal
Bharti, Aajkal and their regional editions. By this department focused to
publish articles on consumer awareness in these magazines keeping in view about
their target readership.
c) Advertisements in Exhibitions and Trade fairs
Exhibitions and Trade Fairs are also used as a tool for showcasing
the consumer awareness initiatives of the Department. The Department
participated in the India-International Trade Fair organisedin New Delhi from
14thto 27thNovember, 2010.Thousands of visitors visited the JagoGrahakJago
stall during the Trade Fair. Publicity brochures containing information about
Consumer Forums, National Consumer Helpline, Grievance Redressal Mechanism and
sector specific information such as on real estate, telecom, financial products
etc. was distributed free of cost to the visitors during the Fair.The video
advertisement spot as part of the Jago Grahak Jago campaign was also run
continuously to spread awareness on consumer issues among the visitors to the stall. Representatives of National Consumer Helpline were also deputed to
provide on-the-spot guidance to the visitors during the Trade Fair.The
Department also participated in an exhibition in Voorhees College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
in October, 2010.
d) Advertisements during Sports events
In order to reach maximum number of consumers, the department telecasted video
spots containing consumer related information during the popular sports events
where the audience interest is maximum.
iii. Meghdoot Postcards Scheme
Consumer awareness messages are also being disseminated through Meghdoot Post
cardsin consultation with Department of Postal to reach far-flung rural
areas including North-East States. Posters carrying messages pertaining to
consumer awarenes shave been displayed in 1.55lakh Rural Post Offices and more
than 25000 Urban Post Offices throughout the country.
iv. Use of Internet to generate Consumer Awareness
Realizing that more than 70%population under the age of 35 years
isusing the internet in a big way, a major initiative is being taken to spread
consumer awareness through the internet.All the print advertisements as well
as the Audio Video spots of the Department have been uploaded on the website of
the Ministry i.e.www.fcamin.nic.in.
v.Introduction of CONFONET project
The CONFONET project (Computerization and Computer Networking of Consumer Forums
in Country) has been implemented in the backdrop of The Consumer Protection Act,
1986. This project is a technical solution for development and implementation of
a computer network based system for the application areas with main focus on
vi. Introducing CORE Centre concept
The Department has launched on March 15, 2005 Consumer on Line
Resources and Empowerment (CORE) Centre on the website www.core.nic.in for
consumer advocacy and online redressal of consumer grievances. Through the
various advertisements relating to consumer awareness, adequate publicity is
being given to the activities of CORE and its website so that consumers can take
the help of online counseling /guidance being provided through it.
vii. Introducing National Consumer Helpline and Consumer Care
The Department has launched a National Help Line. The toll free number
1800-11-4000 facility is available to consumers from 9.30 A.M. to 5.30 P.M. on
all the working days.
Grahak Suvidha Kendras have also been started in 2015 in six states to help the
rural consumers regarding filing of complaints in local language.
Consumer Care Guidance Centers (Grahak Suvidha Kendra) is a new initiative of
the Government as a One Stop Center catering to a spectrum of services for
consumer welfare. It will function as an extended arm of State Helpline and will
function on a Common IT platform of National and State consumer Help lines.
Primarily in 2015 in six states it was started to help the rural consumers
regarding filing of complaints in local language besides English & Hindi It will
have trained personnel, experienced in counseling, drafting complaints,
providing information, and also appearing on behalf of consumers in consumer
courts. These are working as effective nodal points in raising the awareness on
consumer rights through campaigns and solving consumer problems.
viii. Establishment of Centre for Consumer Studies (CCS)
The Department of Consumer Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and
Public Distribution have established a dedicated Centre for Consumer Studies
(CCS) at the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi. The
Centre seeks to network, with national and international agencies and interface
with other stakeholders by serving as a bridging - think tank‖, with an intensive
advocacy role. It acts as a forum for creating dialogue among policy-makers,
service providers, representatives of various business establishments and their
associations, professional bodies/associations, civil society organisations,
educational/ research institutions, economic and social development
organizations as well as leading NGOs. It also acts as a storing and
clearinghouse for the exchange and constant flow of information, ideas and
activities relating to consumer protection and welfare.
ix. Special Scheme on Assistance to State Governments/UTs
Considering the fact that active involvement of State Governments in
awareness campaign is crucial in taking forward the movement to rural, remote
and backward areas, the involvement of the State/ UT administration has been
given prominence in spreading the message of consumer awareness. Grant-in-Aid
has been given to the States/UTs for carrying out consumer awareness activities
in the local media using the local language and emphasis has been made on
involving Panchayati Raj institutions in the consumer awareness campaign.
x. Consumer Clubs
Consumer Clubs, a scheme started by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to mobilize
youngsters to strengthen the consumer movement in the country. Consumer Clubs
are forums where students are sensitized about consumer rights. Youth can also
explain about consumer rights to the people and encourage them to boycott
defective and bad quality goods. They can spread the market and the product
knowledge to the consumers.
Besides this some public spirited persons try to provide consumer
education and awareness through consumer movementsand voluntary
organizations by conducting seminars, workshops, awareness campaigns etc.
It is a fact that within India itself, the level of consumer awareness varies
from state to state depending upon the level of literacy and the social
awareness of the people. Educating more than 120 crores people of various
categories of population, particularly those in rural areas, where consumers are
more susceptible to exploitation because of illiteracy, blind beliefs,
unawareness etc is a herculean task. But Indian government as well as public
spirited people is trying their best, besides that the following initiatives may
provide more consumer education and awareness.
a) Role of educational institutions should be increased
Role of Educational Institutions in Consumer Protection Movement may not
legitimately be denied on any conceivable ground. Educational Institutions,
therefore, are expected to play a positive role in promoting Consumer Protection
Movement. There may be different ways to achieve the objective of Consumer
education about their rights and interest. It is said that aware Consumer is an
asset to the society. Various methodologies, Educational Institutions are
expected to follow such as, Seminars, Workshops, Lectures, Discussions,
Colloquiums, Essay Competitions, Quizzes etc. in the area of Consumer Protection
and Welfare to give boost to the Consumer Protection Movement in the Country.
b) Media and Multi-media publicity should be improved more
The Media includes print and electronic and multi-media publicity to educate
consumers and to make them aware about their rights, and that will have a long
lasting impact not only on the end consumers but also on the entire
manufacturing and services sector. It will go a long way in introducing greater
accountability and transparency in the services provided by the public as well
as private sector since the end user i.e. consumer will be educated and will
become aware enough to ask for best possible services in return of his hard
earned money.The day is therefore not far off when the consumers
will be truly empowered.
c) Individual efforts should be improved
The welfare of consumers remains in their own hands. Consumers do not hesitate
to seek information from authorities established for their welfare and to seek
justice through consumer courts if needed. An alert consumer, who is aware of
his rights and responsibilities not only can protect himself but can also make
consumer sovereignty a reality.
d) Role of government should also need to be extended
It is true that our government is trying at its best but when compared with
developing countries developing countries like India due to several reasons like
political, financial, lack of skilful and technical resources, adjudicating
bodies, illiteracy, poverty and support from public etc. consumer protection and
promotion is at its infancy stage even after providing protection and social and
economic justice in the Constitution of India in various provisions like
Articles14, 19, 21, 38, 39, 43, 46 etc. and after enacting and amending numerous
legislations like consumer protection Act 1986.
-There is a need for proactive legislations and effective
implementation to fulfill needs of the consumers
-Role of local bodies should be improved
It is better to provide consumer awareness programs through local governments
like punchatys, municipalities for generating better awareness.
-Un-employed youth should be utilized as voluntaries with some nominal
Youth who are suffering from unemployment may be appointed as voluntaries with
some nominal wage or honorary wage to create awareness among masses, which can
fulfill two purposes like creating awareness and employment.
-Consumer awareness subject in regular curriculum
It is better to provide consumer protection, harmful goods and service etc.
related syllabus in regular curriculum at least from 6thclass by these
children,future of the nationwill be aware and even they educate their
families regarding consumer protection.
Finally, one has to understand that whatever the law may be, it will give fruit
full results when people are aware about their rights and duties for this to
achieve awareness of consumers is imperative. Hence, there should be a multi
pronged approach to generate proper awareness among consumers in order to
empower them. An aware consumer is an asset to the society; he/shenot only
protects himself from exploitation but induces efficiency, transparency and
accountability in the entire manufacturing and services sector.
“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.”
The efficient and effective programme of Consumer Protection is of special
significance to all of us because we all are consumers. It is a
social-economical-legal movement so the active involvement and participation
from all quarters i.e. the central and state governments, the educational
Institutions, the NGOs, the print and electronic media and more importantly
realize of producers/ providers for co-existence, interdependence and economical
and national growth is needed then the problem of consumer exploitation would
become a thing of the past. This should, however, proceed in a harmonious manner
so that our society becomes a better place for all of us to live in.
“What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself”
“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness
into our awareness”
*Assistant Professor, Smt. V.D. Siddartha Law College, Kanuru, Vijayawada,
Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, India. Pin code: 52007. Phon No. 9491448532,
E-mail: [email protected]
John F.Kennedy, An American, 35thPresident of U.S in his Special message to
the congress on protecting the consumer interest on March 15, 1962 expressed
Available at :http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=9108
Available at :http://www.azquotes.com/quote/376284
This is a Latin word which means let the buyer be aware. According to thisprinciple the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and
suitability of goods before a purchase is made.
Available at :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caveat_emptor
The roman government in or around 50 B.C implemented principle of Lex Julia
de Annona etc.
Available at :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_competition_law
Consumer Protection has its deep roots in the rich soil of Indian civilization,
which dates back to 3200 B.C.
Available at :http://www.jtexconsumerlaw.com/v11n3/jccl_india.pdf
In ancient India, all sections of society followed Dharma-sastra, which laid
out social rules and norms, and served as the guiding principle governing human
relations regarding social, political, religious and even regarding economic.
Among the Dharmas, the most authoritative texts are a) the Manu Smriti (800 B.C.
to 600 B.C.); b) the Yajnavalkya Smriti (300 B.C. to 100 B.C); c) the Narada
Smriti (100 A.D to 200 A.D.); d) the Bruhaspati Smriti (200A.D. to 400 A.D.);
and e) the Katyayana Smriti (300 A.D. to 600 A.D). in all these one find
Later during Chandraguptas rule consumer protection occupies a prominent place.
Kautilyas Arthasastra described the role of the State in regulating trade and
its duty to prevent crimes against consumers.
In the medieval period, some Muslim rulers developed well organized market
mechanisms to monitor prices and the supply of goods to the markets.
“Historical evolution of consumer protection and law in India”, Dr. Rajendra
Prasad, Professor of Law, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, India.
Consumer rights started to be recognized after the 1960s. in fact before
1960s they were practically nonexistent. Todays consumerism finds its origin in
the late 19thand early 20thcentury in US.
38th President of the United States from August 1974 to January 1977.
In India various Acts intended to protect the consumers against different
forms of exploitation were enacted, such as, the Indian Penal Code, 1860; Indian
Contract Act, 1872; Drugs Control Act, 1950; Industries (Development and
Regulation) Act, 1951; Indian Standards Institution (certification marks) Act,
1952; Drug and Magic Remedies (Objectional Advertisement) Acts, 1954; Prevention
of Food Adulteration Act, 1954; Essential commodities Act, 1955; Trade and
Merchandise Marks Act, 1958; Hire purchase Act, 1972; Cigarettes (Regulation of
Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1975; Prevention of Black-marketing
and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980; Essential
commodities (Special Provisions) Act, 1981; Multi-State-Co-operative Societies
Act, 1984; Standard of Weights and Measures (Enforcement) Act, 1985; and
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. Some significant consumer
protection enactments of pre-independence time are the Sale of Goods Act, 1930;
Agriculture Produce (Grading and Marketing) Act, 1837 and Drugs and Cosmetics
Act, 1940 etc.
Available at : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_Protection_Act,_1986
The consumer protection Act 1986, Chapter 2 deals about consumer councils.
Section 6(f) of the consumer protection Act 1986.
The word consumer is defined under Consumer protection Act 1986 in Section
2(1)(d) as below
"consumer" means any person who—
(i)buys any goods for a consideration which has been paid or promised or
partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment and
includes any user of such goods other than the person who buys such goods for
consideration paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised, or under any
system of deferred payment when such use is made with the approval of such
person, but does not include a person who obtains such goods for resale or for
any commercial purpose; or
(ii)hires or avails of any services for a consideration which has been paid
or promised or partly paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred
payment and includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who
'hires or avails of the services for consideration paid or promised, or partly
paid and partly promised, or under any system of deferred payment, when such
services are availed of with the approval of the first mentioned personbut does
not include a person who avails of such services for any commercial purposes;
Explanation.— For the purposes of this clause, “commercial purpose” does not
include use by a person of goods bought and used by him and services availed by
him exclusively for the purposes of earning his livelihood by means of
Such as (a) The right to be protected against marketing of goods which are
hazardous to life and property; (b) The right to be informed about the quality,
quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods to protect the consumer
against unfair trade practices; (c) The right to be assured, wherever possible,
access to an authority of goods at competitive prices; (d) The right to be heard
and to be assured that consumers interests will receive due consideration at
appropriate forums; (e) The right to seek redressal against unfair trade
practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and
(f) Right to consumer education.
Under section 6 of the Act.
. See S.2(1).
. See S.2(5).
. See S.2(20).
. See S.2(22).
. See S.2(31).
. See S.2(42).
. See S.2(43).
. See S.31(2)(d).
Source : The Consumer Protection Bill, 2015 and PRS
Available at : http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/Consumer/Consumer%20Protection%20bill,%202015.pdf
District: Headed by a District Judge or District Magistrate and at least 2
State: Headed by a current or former High Court Judge and at least 4
National: Headed by a current or former Supreme Court Judge, and at least
15 judicial or technical members.
District commission has power to admit complaints of a value up to Rs 50
lakh; Appeals from its orders lie before the State Commission.
State commission has power to admit complaints of a value from Rs 50 lakh to Rs
10 crore; Appeals from its orders lie before the National Commission.
National commission has power to admit complaints of a value above Rs 10 crore;
Appeals from its orders lie before the Supreme Court.
Central Authority: Commissioner (equivalent of Secretary or other eminent
persons) and 5 Deputy Commissioners (equivalent of Joint Secretary or other
Regional Offices: To be headed by officer of the level of Deputy
District: District Collector and other members.
State: State Minister-in-charge of the Department of Consumer Affairs and
up to 10 other members.
National: Central Minister for the Department of Consumer Affairs and other
(i) be protected against marketing of hazardous goods;
(ii) be informed about quality, standards, etc.;
(iii) access goods and services at competitive prices;
(iv) be heard at forums;
(v) seek redressal against exploitation; and
(vi) consumer education.
Chapter V, containing Ss. 63 to 67 deal with the procedure pertaining to
Official website of the department is http://consumeraffairs.nic.in
The department is responsible for National Test House, Standards of Weights
and Measures, TheBureau of Indian Standards, Consumer Cooperatives, Forward
Markets Commission, Mumbai, Monitoring of Prices and Availability of essential
commodities, TheConsumer Protection Act, 1986, Consumer Welfare Fund, Internal
Trade, Inter-State Trade: The Spirituous Preparations (Inter-State Trade and
Commerce) Control Act, 1955, Control of Futures Trading: the Forward Contracts
(Regulations) Act, 1952.
Meghdoot is title of a play in Sanskrit written by Kalidasa. It literally
means the cloud-messenger. Meghdoot Card service is introduced by Post
Department on September 2, 2002. Meghdoot Card is priced at 25 paise which is
half the cost of the regular post card.
Official web site for National consumer helpline http://www.nationalconsumerhelpline.in
Official web site for CCS is http://www.consumereducation.in
Consumer movement or consumerism
The consumer movement is often called asConsumerism also; it is a recent and
universal phenomenon. As commonly understood consumerism refers to wide range of
activities of government, business and independent organisations designed to
protect rights of the consumers. Consumerism is a process through which the
consumers seek redress, restitution, remedy for their dissatisfaction and
frustration and consumers will be educated and become aware of his protection
with the help of their all organised or unorganised efforts and activities.
Consumers satisfaction will benefit not only business but government and
society as well. So consumerism should not be considered as consumers war
against business. It is a collective consciousness on the part of consumers,
business, government and civil society to enhance consumers satisfaction and
social welfare which will in turn benefit all of them and finally make the
society a better place to live in.here it is foremost important to remember
thatConsumerism as an effective and organised movement started in 1960s in the
USA. Ralph Nader, the well-known American advocate has lifted consumerism into a
major social force.
Said by Thich Nhat Hanh
Available at : http://freeingthemind.blogspot.in/2014/02/awareness-quotes.html
These words are said by Abraham Maslow,
Available at :https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/awareness.html
These words are said by Lao Tzu,
Available at :https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/awareness.html